Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wake up call for universal benefit ‘shake-up’

Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072

Press Release
Wake up call for universal benefit ‘shake-up’
Residents urged to sign up or they may miss out
Northumberland Labour Group has joined the list of organisations concerned about the effects of the coalition government flagship universal credit benefit shake-up will have on the county 
It is not just a change of name for benefits; it is the replacement of the whole benefit structure.  For instance, workers reliant on benefits to top up their income or pay for housing will have to demonstrate they are seeking to earn more or face a sliding scale of cuts to their income. This will be defined by an earnings threshold, the equivalent of a 35-hour week on the national minimum wage (currently £212.80). Workers who fall below this threshold will have to demonstrate they are actively looking for additional hours, an additional job, or new, job.
Residents in Northumberland who may be in receipt or may be entitled to a range of benefits are being urged to sign up to the electoral register as new changes introduced by the coalition government are being introduced to parliament.
Universal Credit will be debated in the House of Commons during the autumn period. The Coalition Governments aim of this benefit is to make work pay by ensuring that people are better off for each hour they work and every pound they earn. People claiming this benefit will have to able to pass a test of identification.
Northumberland Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said
"People won’t be entitled to Universal Credit if they are unable to prove who they are and what they are doing at all times. We want to make sure people are aware that the government are changing the benefits system
One of the ways people can be easily identified is from the Electoral Register, People need to ensure they make contact with their council or if they don't have internet access, attend a local community centre with IT access to ensure they get themselves on the register as soon as possible.

Notes to editors
Organisations who have concerns about Universal Credit
  • CAB,
  • Women’s Refuge,
  • Shelter and
  • Age UK

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