Dundee council offers support as Universal Credit rolled out

A man scrawls a message in chalk outside Dundee Job Centre in protest at Universal Credit.

Dundee City Council has put in place a series of measures to assist people affected by the roll-out of Universal Credit.

As part of the UK Government’s welfare reforms, Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS) was introduced in Dundee on Wednesday.

The new system replaces the six main benefits and tax credits: income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment support allowance, income support, child tax credits, working tax credits and housing benefit.

From Wednesday, people who would previously have made a claim for any of these benefits must now make a claim for Universal Credit.

A report to go before the policy and resources committee on Monday states: “The impact of the different reforms has been varied.

However, the ability of Dundee residents to maintain their rent payments in respect of the private or social sector rents has been a high concern.”

Although delivery of Universal Credit is the responsibility of the Department of Work and Pensions, the move will have implications for the council.

The report states: “Vulnerable clients in particular are likely to need advice and support, as they are affected by the new arrangements.

“Demand has been high for awareness sessions that have already been held for voluntary sector groups and stakeholders throughout the city.”

An information booklet for prospective Universal Credit claimants has been produced while, in partnership with Leisure and Culture Dundee, the council has provided funding to support the recruitment of an additional member of staff at Central Library.

Administration finance spokesman Councillor Willie Sawers said: “The roll-out of Universal Credit Full Service by the Department of Work and Pensions will have a negative impact on people across Dundee.

“The council has implemented a wide range of measures to help citizens navigate their way through the new procedures.”

Sarah Glynn, organiser with the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, said: “While it’s helpful the council has produced a leaflet, it won’t do anything to mitigate the devastating impact this will have on people’s lives.”