Rise in Universal Credit claims

Ipswich has seen a rise in the number of people claiming Universal Credit according to the DWP Pictu

Ipswich has seen a rise in the number of people claiming Universal Credit according to the DWP Picture: MARTIN RICKETT/P - Credit: PA Wire

The number of people claiming Universal Credit has risen by 50% since the start of the year, as the council moves more families over to the single benefit scheme.

The number of claimants rise from 4,065 in December 2018 to 6,133 now - an increase of 50.8%.

No stranger to controversy, the new benefits system combines six previous benefits and tax credits into one payment, replacing, amongst others, income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit.

The premise behind the scheme was to free claimants from the so-called benefits trap - a situation where someone is discouraged from working as they are better off claiming benefits.

Ipswich continues to have more claimants than any other district in Suffolk, but a spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said the recent rise does not mean there has been a dramatic increase in people claiming benefits.

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"Universal Credit is being introduced across the UK and all cases are being migrated across from councils to the Department for Work and Pensions through the Job Centre.

"A big spike in numbers is to be expected as the council's long-term aspiration is to get everyone who is claiming onto Universal Credit."

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Will Quince, minister for welfare delivery and MP for Colchester, said; "Universal Credit is a force for good, delivering personalised support right across the East of England and helping people find work.

"For people who want to find work, there's a wide range of help available in jobcentres, including training courses, CV writing sessions and jobs fairs."

How has the switch to Universal Credit affected you? Either positive or negative, send your stories to us via email.

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