The research found that the majority of former tax credit claimants were struggling to cope under the new benefits system.
'The Work and Pensions Select Committee (WPC), a cross-party group of MPs with an interest in social security, has slammed the UK Government for failing to publish research into Universal Credit for a staggering 18 months.
Committee Chair Frank Field has written to Chancellor Philip Hammond, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, and copied the letter PM Theresa May, over “alarming” findings of joint HMRC and DWP research into the transition of claimants from tax credits to Universal Credit.
The research found that nearly two-thirds (60%) of former tax credit claimants who were transferred to the new benefits system were struggling to keep up with bills.
Mr Field blasted the DWP and HMRC for delaying the publication of the research until 4 April this year, 18 months after it was finished.
He also criticised the “excessively long delay” before the research was published, “even allowing for the vagaries of Government announcements and publications.”
The letter goes on to criticise the 18 month delay “with a period of intense scrutiny of Universal Credit, spanning the decision to accelerate the Full Service roll-out in October 2017, to ongoing scrutiny of DWP’s plans for “managed migration” of claimants of existing benefits to Universal Credit.”
It asks Ministers: “What actions you took immediately on seeing the report, aside from deciding to delay publication?”
It also asks Ministers to “explain why there was a delay of eighteen months between the UCTC report being finalised and its publication”, and “confirm when Ministers in each Department first saw the report.
The letter also demands that Ministers “provide copies of any briefing provided to Ministers on the report’s content”.'
Read more: DWP kept damning Universal Credit research ‘secret’ for 18 months