Universal Credit minister Lord Freud announces retirement from Government
The minister considered the architect of the Universal Credit system has announced his retirement from the Government.
Lord Freud, who has held the same welfare reform portfolio at the Department for Work and Pensions since 2010, said he was “incredibly proud” of the benefits shake-up overseen by the Coalition and now Tory Government.
He will leave the Government at the end of the month, with his successor to be announced “in due course”.
“At the heart of our reforms is desire to give people independence to improve their lives,” the peer said.
“For too long, people have been trapped by a byzantine benefits system, leaving them powerless. This has always been my driving force – to give people back control over their own lives; to give support in times of need, but also to give a clear route out of the benefits system and into independence.
“That’s what Universal Credit does, and I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved. It’s a testament to the support I’ve received both from my Ministerial colleagues and civil servants in the DWP that we are now well on the way to achieving our goal of a truly modern, responsive welfare system which is already transforming lives.
“As I retire from my ministerial position, I leave with full confidence in the future of Universal Credit.”
Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said the peer’s contribution had been “outstanding”.
“As the architect of Universal Credit, he combines vision with an impressive attention to detail,” he added.
“Moreover, he cares greatly about improving the lives of some of the poorest people in our country.”
His six-year stint in the same post was the longest by any serving minister in the Government.
His time in office was marked by some controversies, including having to offer a “full and unreserved apology” in 2014 after he said some disabled people’s labour was “not worth” the national minimum wage.