Con­cern as uni­ver­sal credit sys­tem rolls out

Cit­i­zens Ad­vice boss puts more ad­vi­sors in place

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Strat­ton Wil­liams

The highly con­tro­ver­sial uni­ver­sal credit scheme was rolled out in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang Job­cen­tre venues this week.

New sin­gle job­seek­ers in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang who rent ac­com­mo­da­tion will be able to claim uni­ver­sal credit from the start of this week.

Ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment, it is a rev­o­lu­tion­ary new ben­e­fit sim­pli­fy­ing the wel­fare sys­tem.

Bu t Ru t h e r g l e n and Cam­bus­lang Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau are gear­ing up for a flood of cases when the new sys­tem starts.

CAB man­ager Sharon Hamp­son said: “Uni­ver­sal cred­its will re­place means tested ben­e­fits such as job­seek­ers al­lowance, em­ploy­ment and sup­port al­lowance, hous­ing ben­e­fit, work­ing / child tax cred­its and in­come sup­port.

“The gov­ern­ment claim it in­cen­tivises job­seek­ers, help­ing peo­ple to be bet­ter off in work.”

But Sharon says that Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang bureau are ex­pect­ing over the next year to have a sub­stan­tial in­crease in clients.

“We are ex­pect­ing that this will be mainly due to the gov­ern­ments ‘dig­i­tal by de­fault’ stance, which does not take into con­sid­er­a­tion the peo­ple in the com­mu­nity who do not have ac­cess or can­not af­ford in­ter­net ac­cess.

“There are also those peo­ple who whoarenot­ful­ly­com­put­er­lit­er­ateare not fully com­puter lit­er­ate and are placed at a disad­van­tage with this pol­icy.

“To cover this, I have in­creased our vol­un­teers daily so we can have ap­prox­i­mately six in the morn­ing and six in the af­ter­noon,” said Sharon.

“We would en­cour­age any­one who feels they are go­ing to be af­fected by the changes brought about by uni­ver­sal cred­its to come to Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang Bureau or one of our many out­reach fa­cil­i­ties, and we can as­sist by pro­vid­ing a ben­e­fit check,” she added.

The gov­ern­ment, how­ever, are con­vinced the latest move will be ben­e­fi­cial to peo­ple.

Latest re­search, they say, shows that uni­ver­sal credit claimants spend more time look­ing for work, move into work quicker and stay in jobs for longer com­pared to those on job­seeker’s al­lowance.

Min­is­ter for Wel­fare Re­form, Lord Freud said: “Uni­ver­sal credit is a revo­lu­tion in wel­fare – a sys­tem that, for the first time, sup­ports peo­ple both in and out of work.

“Un­der Uni­ver­sal Credit we are help­ing to cre­ate a higher wage, lower tax, and lower wel­fare so­ci­ety, with peo­ple mov­ing into jobs faster, and able to in­crease their earn­ings safe in the knowl­edge that they are bet­ter off in work.”

I have in­creased our vol­un­teers daily

Revo­lu­tion Lord Freud (left) on Uni­ver­sal Credit scheme, which will hit Job­cen­tres this week

Uni­ver­sal cause for con­cern CAB man­ager Sharon Hamp­son

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