The DWP announced last week that new claimants across the North West would begin to be able to claim Universal Credit from June. When completed, 1 in 8 Jobcentres in Britain will offer Universal Credit.
If you will be affected by Universal Credit, or if you work for an organisation that advises those affected, you can use our free Universal Benefit Calculator to estimate your entitlement. You can also visit our FAQ pages to find out more about Universal Credit, to ask questions about UC policy, or to ask questions specifically relating to your personal circumstances.
The local authorities affected are:
- Salford City Council
- Wirral Borough Council
- Preston City Council
- St Helens Borough Council
- Cheshire East Council
- Cheshire West and Chester Council
- Trafford Borough Council
- Bolton Borough Council
- Bury Borough Council
- South Ribble Borough Council
- Sefton Borough Council
- Knowsley Borough Council
Though the rollout remains for new claims only, Jobcentres that already process claims for single people will begin to process claims for couples. These include:
The press release removes some of the uncertainty caused by the slower than anticipated roll-out of Universal Credit. The DWP focus appears to be on cultural change elements such as the rol-lout of the clamant commitment and wi-fi and digital access terminals across Jobcentres.
Policy in Practice believes that the wider roll-out is positive. It allows the DWP to begin trialling Universal Credit across a wider geography, helping to raise awareness among frontline organisations. The rollout still affects relatively few claimants, and a straightforward claimant base. However, Bill Irvine outlines some of the practical concerns of a wider rollout of Universal Credit here, arguing that the DWP are not ready to run UC at scale.
The full press release can be found here.