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Hundreds still on Universal Credit in West Norfolk, despite big fall

The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for Universal Credit (4919879)
The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for Universal Credit (4919879)

Hundreds of people in West Norfolk have already been moved to a Universal Credit system, though there has been a significant slowdown in the rate, new figures show.

Data from the Department for Work and Pensions showed 387 people in the borough had been moved onto the programme by last month.

However, that is down by nearly a third on the same point a year earlier.

Of those who are now receiving Universal Credit in the borough, 41 per cent are in employment.

The programme, which is intended to simplify the welfare system by combining six existing benefits into a single payment, had originally been intended to be fully rolled out by April of last year.

But fresh delays in recent days mean it is now likely to be 2023 before that happens.

Last week, Jonathan Toye, the outgoing co-ordinator of the West Norfolk Disability Information Service, said the system should be scrapped altogether.

He argues that the reform does not work and the entire welfare system is not fit for purpose, claiming that three-quarters of the appeals his organisation makes are successful.

Opposition politicians have also claimed Universal Credit is little more than a smokescreen for cuts and people are being left facing hunger and destitution as a result of it.

But the government insists the rollout will continue and claims disabled people will be better off on Universal Credit than on the current system.

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