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Universal Credit to replace existing benefits in Newham

18:40 11 February 2016

Havering residents who receive benefits will see changes to their payments from today (Credit: PA/Jon Giddens)

Havering residents who receive benefits will see changes to their payments from today (Credit: PA/Jon Giddens)

PA/Press Association Images

Universal Credit will merge existing benefits and tax credits into one single payment from Monday.

Newham residents who receive jobseeker’s allowance, income support, employment and support allowance, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit will be moved onto the means-tested payment system in gradual phases.

Claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance, the first benefit to be affected, will be contacted by Jobcentre Plus informing them what they will need to do.

The borough is the latest in a long line of councils implementing the measure first introduced by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith in October 2013.

Universal Credit is the biggest shake-up of the welfare system since its introduction in the 1940s.

Cuts to people’s incomes, implementation delays and IT glitches have been a few of the criticisms by vocal opponents of the new credit scheme to date.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions insists that Universal Credit has simplied the system, reducing the amount of fraud and resulting in savings for the taxpayer.

The single-payment benefit will be paid monthly into people’s bank accounts and includes money for basic living costs and rent so housing benefit will no longer be included.

It may take several weeks for recipients to receive their first Universal Credit payment.

However, advance payments for individuals struggling to pay their rent during this period will be available from Jobcentre Plus.

For further information, click here or call the Universal Credit helpline on 0345 600 0723.

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