Universal Credit to be rolled out across Aberdeen tomorrow

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A controversial new benefit will be officially rolled out across Aberdeen tomorrow.

Universal Credit replaces six means-tested benefits – including income-based jobseeker’s allowance – with one monthly payment.

The benefit has been surrounded by controversy with concerns raised that it is driving low-income families and individuals into debt because of delays in issuing new payments.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions claim the new benefit will instead simplify the system and make work pay.

Terry Parle, manager at the Job Centre in Aberdeen, said: “Universal credit offers tailored support, which includes more personalised help from a work coach.

“The new system is also more flexible, which means people can take on short-term work to develop their skills and build up their experience.

“Our staff are trained to support people throughout the claim process.

“We’d encourage anyone who needs extra help or information to come and talk to their work coach.”

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The DWP forecasts that by next March, more than 2,600 people will be claiming Universal Credit in Aberdeen.

It was previously revealed in a report presented to Aberdeen City Council that the new benefit could lead to an increased risk of owing rent.

Ministers are facing fresh demands by MPs to halt its mass roll-out until they can ensure no more claimants are pushed “over the edge” and into debt.

The DWP has been accused of turning a “deaf ear” to the concerns of claimants facing “unacceptable” levels of hardship.