Basingstoke MP Maria Miller called in at the JobCentre Plus (JCP) office recently for a further update on the roll-out of Universal Credit locally.
A major reform of the benefits system, Universal Credit is currently being rolled out in Basingstoke, initially for new benefit claimants and for existing claimants whose personal circumstances have changed.
During her visit, Maria met the JCP leadership team for an update on how the roll-out is progressing. She also met Citizens Advice advisors, who are working with the JCP to help Universal Credit claimants during the early stages of their claims. Citizens Advice nationally are receiving Government funding to provide Universal Support, to help claimants manage their claim, with a focus on budget management and digital support. Basingstoke Citizens Advice has decided as part of this to provide face-to-face support in the JCP office, as well as providing help at the Bureau, through drop-in, phone and webchat.
Maria said: “It was good to meet the JCP leadership team again for an update on Universal Credit in Basingstoke, and the work they are doing, including with employers, to give more people the opportunity to balance work with disability and health conditions. I was pleased to hear that the roll-out is progressing relatively smoothly, with the team having benefitted from bringing colleagues in with previous experience of rolling out Universal Credit in other locations.”
“I was also very interested to meet the Citizens Advice team and hear about the support they are providing to Universal Credit claimants, both through the CAB, and in the face-to-face contact in the JCP offices. Not all Citizens Advice offices have opted to provide this in-house support in JCPs, and I very much welcome Basingstoke CAB’s decision to go the extra mile for claimants.”