The centrepiece of the Government’s welfare reforms will be implemented at Lynn from Monday as Universal Credit is made available here.
Universal Credit is now in 95 per centof all jobcentres across the country and over 364,000 people have made a claim for it, with more than 10,000 new claims every week.
Replacing six benefits with one monthly payment, it is a system designed to make work pay, and sweeps away the complexities, traps and confusions of the previous system.
Universal Credit (UC) also supports people who have a job to progress in work and increase their earnings.
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 and encourages them to increase their earnings.
“By making work pay for each and every hour, Universal Credit encourages claimants to increase their earnings.
“The vast majority of UC claimants who are in work are actively looking for ways to increase their hours and income.
“In this way, UC is delivering on our commitment to move to a higher wage, lower tax, and lower welfare society, where everyone has the support and opportunity to get on in life.”
Once fully rolled out, it is hoped that UC is could boost national employment by 300,000, with the latest figures showing that for every 100 people who find work under the old jobcentre allowance system, 113 UC claimants will have moved into a job.
A third of those already claiming UC are currently employed. To help people find work quicker, work coaches and recruiters have teamed up to create the Daily Jobseeker – an online resource with tips and advice on how claimants can get into work.
With access to HMRC’s real time earnings data, benefit payments can now be calculated exactly, and adjusted automatically to eliminate overpayments and ensure people receive the correct level of support both in and out of work.
Once fully rolled out, UC, alongside HMRC’s real time earnings data is expected to save taxpayers over £1 billion a year.
The six benefits it is replacing are: Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit.
On the same day that it begins in Lynn it will also become available out of the jobcentre in Wisbech, and seven other places across England.