Dole office to roll out digital benefits to north-west – 6 months early
Greater Manchester and Cheshire testing ground for universal credit
The government has announced plans to launch universal credit six months ahead of the national rollout in October 2013.
The scheme will go live in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire region in April 2013. The Department for Work and Pensions said that the early rollout of its new benefit system is expected to see up to 1,500 new universal credit claimants join the system across four areas - Tameside, Oldham, Wigan and Warrington - each month.
Announcing the plans, pensions secretary Iain 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 rollout 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."
The department said that work will continue over the coming months to ensure that job centres, local authorities and employers in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire region are equipped to support the new service ahead of the early rollout in April next year.
Universal credit is set to be the government's first 'digital by default' service, and will replace its current benefit system. Around £2bn funding has been allocated over the government's spending review period for its implementation.
This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.
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Dear Anonymous Coward - whilst your heart is in the right place I feel that you are misinformed (possibly by the daily mail) the majority of benefit subscribers are law abiding folk trying to do the best during shit times. Fraud is down, money is seldom wasted. Aside from a few claw fisted cock jugglers that appear on Jeremy Kyle the system is in quite a good place. If you want to help though you can. Visit the community either with a charity or political party and see for yourself.
Part of the problem isn't the people on benefits but the system itself. It is a noble scheme trying to house them all under one roof. However i fear that the DWP and HMRC computer systems are too different between their many offices. I recall EDS (now HP) trying to tie them all together and failing due to the antiquated ham fisted approach to regional IT.
this is a fantastic policy
First off - the issue of identifying and stopping benefit fraud is completely seperate from how the benefits are applied for or calculated. So put that to one side.
Secondly, I think the argument about what level benefits are paid at is also completely seperate to this policy. There are arguments both ways on that one.
The main point here (as I understand it) is that under the current system if you are on benefits and want to get back into work, you can end up trapped because if you earn a very small amount/work a couple of hours you lose eligability to specific benefits which in total is more than your wage. Hey presto its not worth (or possible) to take the job.
By having a universal benefit you work out a base entitlement and then remove it in a tapered way as people start to earn - so it should be possible for someone on benefits to do say 8-10 hours a week if thats all they can find or as a bridge from long term unemployment.
How is that not a fantastic idea? The economics suddenly become "its always better to have a job"
Please dont confuse either fraud levels or even the level of benfit paid with what this is actually about.
For the AC...
Dear Ac as many have said you are wrong.
I agree there are some that scam the system and some that completly take the piss, I know I burnt off some Karma for a year and a half working in a bens office dealing with them. The vast majority do not actually fiddle the system though.
However there is something called the benefit trap this means that to come off of bens you need a certain wage to help keep you in the standard of living that you have been on.
Note this does not neccessarily have to be a high wage, I'd say some of the biggest problem comes from min wage and short hours (anything over 16.5 hrs is considered full time work). Once you factor in travel to work, rent, council tax you know have to pay, NHS, dentist then sudenly staying on benefts is actually just a logical descision versus say being a single male being offered 30hrs at min wage.
Raising the min wage is not really going to solve it because that hits employers, lowering benefits is not either because apart from that small subset the daily fail always reports on its probably fair to say that more people are on the breadline or finding themselves becoming indebted due to unemployement than buying luxury cars.
Personally I think the best way to solve it is to raise the chance of you being able to claim some help back. If you get a job but now when you sign off, you still get say 20% of your council tax covered, you can claim a bit of working tax credit and rent relief etc then it suddenly becomes more attractive to return to work, theres a point to know that the difference caused by working is a few extra quid in your pocket, rather than you being no better or actually worse off.
Yes that still means some money is coming from the taxpayer, however I would argue that its a lot less than what was being taken before, and the knock on effect of someone being employed also means that the goverment gets a bit of tax from the employers, from VAT on the working persons new purchases etc.
The system at the moment does not work unfortunately it seems most ways of fixing it are derivatated from what the headlines say rather than a realistic view of what actually is happening.