A revolution in the benefits system is being pioneered in Market Harborough from this week.
Universal Credit, the biggest revamp of the benefits system since the 1940s, is to be rolled out at the town’s Jobcentre at the rate of 30 people a week.
It seeks to simplify the benefits system by merging a clutch of working-age benefits and tax credits into a single payment.
Rob Cooper, the Jobcentre Plus district manager for Leicestershire and Northants told the Mail on Monday: “This is week one. It’s small steps at first to make sure we get it right. But Universal Credit is good for citizens.
“It means people can get back into work quicker, without losing money when they start a job.”
Universal Credit could affect nearly eight million people nationwide.
It is due to be brought in at all Jobcentres by 2016.
A sliding scale when claimants start work will mean no claimant should be better off on benefits than working, says the Government.
Benefits cash will be paid once a month, directly into a bank account. Claimants will get rent assistance money too, and will then pay landlords themselves.
Mr Cooper said: “It does need more money-management from people. But we’ll help, where necessary.”
Universal Credit will be administered online. If people do not have access to a computer or require assistance, Jobcentre staff re promising to help.
Harborough’s Jobcentre is based at the district council’s Symington Building offices in Adam and Eve Street.
Harborough is part of the central area pilot scheme along with Daventry and Melton Mowbray.