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CAB - Right support key to Universal Credit rollout success

Citizens Advice says it is concerned about levels of support available to people being moved onto Universal Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions has today announced the national rollout of the new benefit, which rolls six benefits, including Jobseekers Allowance and Housing Benefit, into one. In the first instance the rollout only applies to single people applying for Universal Credit.

The Government is working with local authorities to develop Universal Support for Universal Credit claimants. This will offer support for people, including with getting online and budgeting skills. Universal Support is currently only being tested at 11 sites across the country.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:

‘Support for claimants is key to the success of Universal Credit. Research by Citizens Advice shows that nine in ten of our clients need assistance to deal with things like monthly payments and budgeting.  

‘Simplifying welfare and making every hour of work pay are good principles. But we are concerned that as more and more people move on to Universal Credit many may not be able to access the help and support they need to understand the new system. As Universal Credit is rolled out nationally it is vital that proper support is also expanded in order to support new claimants.’

Research by Citizens Advice with people seeking help from CABs in Universal Credit pilot areas found that nine in ten of our clients are not ready for UC:

•One in five did not have access to basic banking.

•More than half said they'll struggle with online applications.

•In the first roll-out area, 78 per cent of all clients needed help with any online form.

Citizens Advice

Notes to editors:

  1. The ‘Managing Migration’ research into the needs of Citizens Advice clients in Universal Credit pilot areas was carried out between March and October 2013.
  2. Birmingham, Ynys Mon and North Dorset bureaux were chosen as they reflected the diverse nature of the Citizens Advice service – operating in both rural and urban environments with differing client profiles and resources. During this time we worked with 1,746 clients from initial assessment – with 1,342 going on to receive interventions at their bureau.
  3. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  4. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  5. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
  6. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  7. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  8. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.
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