Single people in Kettering are among the first to have the opportunity to claim a new national benefit launched this week, designed to help people find work faster.
Universal Credit, which merges together other employment benefits into a single payment while offering the support of specially trained ‘work coaches’ to find employment options, was officially made available to single claimants in 15 UK towns yesterday, including Kettering.
The benefit itself is already available to families and couples in 40 per cent of job centres across the country and, when fully rolled out, the Government says it will save the economy £7bn a year.
Eventually it will entirely replace Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.
Minister for welfare reform Lord Freud said: “It is good news that Universal Credit is coming to Kettering.
“We know that Universal Credit claimants are moving into work faster and staying in work longer.
“Universal Credit allows greater flexibility for workers and employers and gives claimants financial security by making sure work always pays more – more hours means more money in your pocket.”
The Department for Work and Pensions says that the system is getting people into better paid jobs faster and will reduce the risk of fraud and error.
A spokesman said: “Fraud and error will be significantly reduced, with Jobcentres having access to real-time HMRC earnings data under Universal Credit.
“Benefit payments can now be calculated exactly, meaning the right level of support is in place to help people on their journey into work, including topping up claimants earnings when they are on a low income.”
More information about Universal Credit can be found at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/universal-credit-an-introduction.