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New Universal Credit benefit to be tested in North West

Category: England

Published: 24th May 2012 00:04:59

The new single benefit, which the government claims will simplify the welfare system, is to be introduced six months earlier than planned.

The streamlined Universal Credit, which replaces a range of existing benefits, will be trialled in Tameside, Oldham, Wigan and Warrington from next April.

Up to 1,500 new claimants are expected to take up the benefit in those areas.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said that this will be followed by a roll-out in October 2013.

This new benefit replaces the current income-related Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), income support, working tax credits, child tax credits and housing benefit.

Its roll-out will initially be on a small scale in each region but with new claims for the existing benefits entirely phased out by April 2014.

The transfer of millions of existing claimants to the new system is intended to be completed by 2017.

Mr Duncan Smith said: "By sweeping away the complexities of the current benefit system, Universal Credit will be simpler and more straightforward for people to claim and this early roll-out marks a significant step in the delivery of our welfare reforms.

"The early introduction of Universal Credit demonstrates our ongoing commitment to transforming the welfare system and will improve the lives of millions of claimants by incentivising work and making work pay."

Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said feedback from the first claimants next April would be used to make "final improvements" before it is launched nationally.

"This will ensure that we have a robust and reliable new service for people to make a claim when Universal Credit goes live nationally in October 2013," he said.

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BBC News, 2012. New Universal Credit benefit to be tested in North West [Online] (Updated 24th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1430547/New-Universal-Credit-benefit-to-be-tested-in-North-West [Accessed 24th Jul 2014]

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