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Seventy organisations raise concerns about Universal Credit - Turn2us

Turn2us information sheet on Universal CreditSeventy organisations, including councils, charities, trades unions, business groups and housing organisations, have raised concerns about the new benefit, Universal Credit, which will replace several work-based benefits from next year.

The groups, which have submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee are worried about new monthly payments, access to an online system and whether the information technology needed will be ready. They are also concerned about the impact of the changes on vulnerable groups - including single parents; people who do not use the internet; and those living in domestic violence refuges.

  • Citizens Advice warns that the Universal Credit system "risks causing difficulties to the 8.5 million people who have never used the internet and a further 14.5 million who have virtually no Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills.
  • Gingerbread, the charity for single parents, is concerned about the effects of moving payments from fortnightly to monthly payments on claimants.
  • Refuge, which provides services to people who have experienced domestic violence, has claimed that Universal Credit could see the closure of all its 297 refuges.

Government response

Ministers say the online system replaces a "costly, outdated" one and the benefit is set to come in on time.

They describe Universal Credit as "the most radical redesign of the benefits system this country has ever seen," saying it pays people to work rather than claim benefits.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman also said that "face to face and telephone support would be available to people struggling to access the Universal Credit system online."

Read the Turn2us information sheet on Universal Credit

Sources: BBC News (link opens in a new window) and The Guardian (link opens in a new window)

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