Benefits Reform Trial Scaled Back

A new reform to the welfare system is about to be scaled back by the government.

The plans of ministers are to give people the possibility to claim the new Universal Credit in four areas of north-west England from April.

However, it was announced that three of the pilots will not be able to start until July.

According to Labour the Universal Credit was “on the edge of disaster” mainly because IT systems were still not ready to stand the pressure.

This Universal Credit is created in such a way that it is simple and cheap. It will merge several earnings-related benefits and tax credits into one single payment.

The Department for Work and Pensions had first decided to test it in four areas but now they said the beginning of the programme will be set only in one area- Ashton-under-Lyne.

Not before July the other three job centres will start working with Universal Credit.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: “The scheme is already late and over-budget and in spite of earlier promises ministers have admitted that they have no idea when out of work claimants will move over to Universal Credit.”

Salary data calculations are needed for the Universal Credit so Mr. Byrne said that small firms have to provide this data as they have now been delayed from April until October.

On Friday Anne Begg, Labour MP for Aberdeen South and a member of the work and pensions select committee, said that she was both pro and con the delaying as she felt the government first had to check everything was all right.

“The welfare system is like a giant jelly in that if you press down and try and make a change in one area, something else that you may not be expecting pops up”.

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