Universal Credit rolled out further

Hampshire Chronicle: Iain Duncan Smith says the Government's flagship Universal Credit is already changing lives Iain Duncan Smith says the Government's flagship Universal Credit is already changing lives

The Government's flagship welfare reform is being rolled out to more jobcentres from next week.

Universal Credit, which is replacing six means-tested benefits and tax credits, will be expanded across north-west England.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said: "Universal Credit is already changing lives.

"We are seeing claimants spending more time looking for jobs and moving smoothly into employment safe in the knowledge that it will always pay more to be in work. This gives them security and hope for their children.

"The continued rollout of the Universal Credit means more people will benefit from this transformation of the welfare state.

"By simplifying the mess of benefits and tax credits we inherited, and by improving work incentives, we are ending the something-for-nothing culture and creating a system that is fair for those who seek to work and fair to the taxpayer."

Latest figures to March showed that 6,550 people had claimed Universal Credit.

The chairman of the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee, Dame Anne Begg, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "The roll-out to the North West has been announced quite some time ago. I haven't heard yet whether that's going to include couples - that was meant to happen in the summer.

"In Scotland, one jobcentre is administering Universal Credit to the very, very simplest of cases, and that's Inverness - not necessarily typical of the rest of Scotland.

"I think we've got a long way to go with regard to Universal Credit."

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