HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) clarified their plans for Child Benefit after a report fuelled speculation the welfare could be abolished “in the coming years”. The report from think tank Resolution Foundation claimed Child Benefit had fallen to a 40-year low, and went on to suggest it could be subsumed into Universal Credit. The analysis blamed “a decade of caps, freezes and restrictions” for seeing the value of the benefit for some families falling by around £210 a year since 2011/2012. This rises to £350 for two children, the report claims.
It added: “If these trends continue, Child Benefit could be abolished in the coming years and subsumed into Universal Credit.”
But this claim has been rubbished by HMRC who said there are no current plans for a merger.
According to North Wales Live, the Government department said the only element of the two benefits that would be combined is in-house information sharing, as opposed to assessments.
They spokesman said: “The Government has no plans to phase out Child Benefit nor to merge it with Universal Credit.”
Last month it was revealed there are plans to combine the separate assessment processes for Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) into one system.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)n Secretary Amber Rudd described the proposal as part of a scheme to “change the landscape” of the benefits system.
It is claimed an integrated system will reduce the need to submit information multiple times.
For some applicants, it will also reduce the number of face-to-face assessments.
The new scheme would see data being shared across one digital system, as opposed to applicants having to submit the same information for different assessments.
The DWP told Express.co.uk the process will offer “a more joined-up service to disabled people” by “integrating the services that deliver PIP assessments and Work Capability Assessments into one”.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “As the Secretary of State made clear last week, our priority is to significantly improve how we support disabled people.
“Integrating the service that delivers PIP assessments and Work Capability Assessments will improve the assessment process for millions of people claiming health-related benefits.
“Future contract costs will be subject to the public procurement rules to ensure quality and value for money.”