Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, and Skipton and Ripon MP, Julian Smith joined Job Centre staff and claimants at Harrogate Job Centre to launch the new Universal Credit in the Harrogate district.
Harrogate is among the first local authorities to be launching Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is a single benefit that will be paid if person’s income falls below a certain level.
Universal Credit will eventually replace:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
These changes been driven by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith who says that too many people are trapped on benefits and are designed to make work pay, instead of people seeing their income drop by moving off benefits and into low-paid work.
It is also aimed to reduce fraud, that amounts to billions each year and to simplify the system.
After officially launching Universal Credit Mr Jones discussed the changes with job centre staff and claimants.
Commenting, Mr Jones said: Universal Credit is a great step forward for our benefits system. Too often we hear of people who want to work but find they are worse off than if they stay on benefits. This will no longer be the case.
Now, if people get a job below a certain income level, benefits will taper off meaning no-one should be worse off in work than out of work.
Job Centre Plus Operating Manager for North Yorkshire, Gill Hall joined Mr Jones at the launch and said: Universal Credit is transforming the way we interact with our customers .The flexibility is fantastic and opens the door to a wealth of work opportunities.
Photograph: (L to R), Ruth Lee (Harrogate Job Centre Manager), Andrew Jones MP, John (Universal Credit Claimant), Mariam (Universal Credit Claimant), Julian Smith MP and Gill Hall, Job Centre Plus Operating Manager for North Yorkshire.