Over one million people will be claiming Universal Credit by April 2014 Iain Duncan Smith announced today as he set out the Government timetable to move 12 million claimants onto the new benefit by 2017.
The works and pension secretary announced that the transition from the old benefit system to Universal Credit will take place in three phases over four years, ending in 2017.
He said that around 7.7m households will be receiving more support to find more work and be more self-sufficient.
Between October 2013 and April 2014 - 500,000 new claimants will receive Universal Credit in place of Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
At the same time a further 500,000 existing claimants (and their partners and dependants) will also move on to Universal Credit as and when their circumstances change significantly, such as when they find work or when a child is born.
The move to the Universal Credit system is intended to reduce absolute and relative poverty.
However critics of the new system say that the net direct effect of the tax and benefit changes will actually increase them.
A recent report published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that the problem is that other changes, such as the switch from retail price indexation to consumer price indexation of means-tested benefits, will more than offset the impact on poverty of the Universal Credit.