Universal Credit rolled out to tackle East End’s benefit-capped unemployed

Lord Freud

Lord Freud - Credit: DWP

The government’s much-criticised “making work pay” Universal Credit has arrived at Jobcentres in London’s deprived East End where unemployment is traditionally high and many families are feeling the pinch from benefit capping.

A programme of rolling out a single benefits payment is being introduced at Poplar and City Tower jobcentres, now dealing with Universal Credit claims.

“The switch to Universal Credit makes it easier for employers to offer part-time workers more paid hours,” Welfare Reform Minister David Freud said. “Part-time workers no longer face the ‘cliff edge’ where benefits are withdrawn as soon as they reach 16 hours a week.”

The all-in-one credit works because it outweighs State benefits which have all been capped, discouraging dependence on hand-outs.

But housing campaigners have attacked benefit capping, which they say forces low-income families out of traditional Working Class areas like the East End where rents have rocketted, accusing the government of “social urban cleansing”.

The new credit limited to the average working wage replaces six benefits, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment & Support Allowance, Working and Child tax credits and Housing.

Lord Freud insisted claimants are “moving into work faster and staying in work longer”.

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Work ‘coaches’ are being used at the two East End jobcentres giving claimants tailored support to get jobs and continuing the support to earn more once they are working. Claimants are also getting one monthly payment rather than fortnightly, mirroring the way most employees are paid.

Universal Credit is now being made available in one-in-three jobcentres nationally.