The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced an accelerated roll out of Universal Credit to all Jobcentres and local authorities across the country from early next year.
This follows a successful pilot scheme in the North West.
According to a recent press release by DWP “this marks a significant acceleration in one of the government’s biggest reforms and is a sign of the success of the policy so far. This expansion will be for new claims from single jobseekers.”
Universal Credit amalgamates 6 benefits and tax credits into one single payment for claimants. The new scheme is already available in over 50 Jobcentres in England, Wales and Scotland, and will be available in nearly 100 Jobcentres by Christmas.
Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith has said:
“Universal Credit is a vision for a new welfare settlement; a welfare state fit for the 21st century; a testament to the hard work of Jobcentres and local authorities that we are now implementing it. It has now rolled out in the north west of England – to couples, shortly to families, to more than 1 in 8 jobcentres by Christmas – safely and securely as I always said.
“Today I can announce that we are going to accelerate the delivery of Universal Credit from the New Year, bringing forward the national rollout through 2015/16 to every single community across Great Britain. Secure national delivery, yet at the same time, delivering that life change at a local level; strengthening community partnerships, helping vulnerable households. Not just helping the economy but reducing child poverty as well.
“It is bringing up to £35 billion in economic benefits to Britain over the next decade, helping people to get into work quicker and stay in it longer, making a lasting difference to people’s lives now and for generations to come. Universal Credit is going nationwide. I promise you we are going to finish what we started.”
The Universal Credit project has been a key part in the Government’s long-term economic plan and has not been without controversy. Many have been sceptical of the Government’s ability to bring this off without major problems, particularly with regard to its high dependency on IT systems.
However, the Government claim that when fully implemented, Universal Credit has the potential to contribute up to £35 billion to the economy over 10 years.
See the full DWP Press Release here