Universal Credits

The Coalition Government is forging ahead with the introduction of Universal Credits for all those who are in need of welfare benefits to assist them to live and work to an acceptable standard.  By mid-autumn 2013 the system will be introduced around the country which should save £million’s in administration fees.

Iain Duncan-Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary advocates the new system, believing it will encourage more people into work, and reduce the many intricacies that plague the current benefits system.

However, there are many concerns over the impact Universal Credits will have on the vulnerable in society.  As the credits will be allocated to one person in the household, many organisations are concerned this could lead to a shift in the dynamics of power over financial control, which harks back to the reason the benefits system was changed originally.  Similarly, household budgeting in lower income families relies on money coming in at different times of the month, eeking out the spending to ensure survival.

One concern that doesn’t appear to have been picked up on so far is literacy and numeracy skills.  If a person has poor reading, writing and mathematical abilities, where are they going to go for help in completing the new online forms?  What if they don’t own a computer, who is going to provide the means?  According to the Office for National Statistics 5.2 million households are currently without a PC or internet access, how is the Government going to address this issue?  Typically, though not generally, in lower income areas around the country, numeracy and literacy skills play a big part in employment opportunities.

We at ICAN believe in equality for all, regardless of social status and offer support for people across the spectrum  by providing advice and training in basic IT skills, internet access and job search needs, to enable people to access the online applications for universal benefits and council services.

If you would like further information, please contact us on 01695 726269.


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