13:18 29 April 2013
A new system of universal credit has been rolled out today, Monday 29th April, in one area of the UK. Universal credit has been launched in Ashton-under-Lyne, in Greater Manchester, which sees different benefits being combined into one payment.
The news comes as part of plans from Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. It is expected that the full scheme, which would deal with millions of claims, will be active by 2017.
Reportedly universal credit looks to help those looking for work, as the government says Britons benefit from being employed.
The plan also aims to help make the welfare system more simplified.
There has been some concern expressed over the nature of the scheme however, as universal credit works via a computer system. Also, it is unsure whether all potential claimants have internet access.
Mr. Duncan Smith spoke well of the scheme when talking to BBC's Today programme. He said: “What we have to do is to start changing people, and that's what this system is about.”
He added: “It's about trying to help those who are the most vulnerable to get ready for the world of work, and that will improve their lives dramatically.”
It is believed that by summer this year, pilot systems will be carried out in other northern areas of the UK including Warrington and Wigan.
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