THE controversial Universal Credit benefits scheme has been rolled out full-service in Bromsgrove.

From today (Wednesday, September 12) anyone in Bromsgrove who would previously have made a claim to Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income support, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit will instead claim Universal Credit.

Michael Dzioba, from Bromsgrove's Jobcentre Plus, said: “Universal Credit offers tailored support, which includes more personalised help from a work coach.

"The new system is also more flexible, which means people can take on short-term work to develop their skills and build up their experience.

“Our staff are trained to support people throughout the claim process. We’d encourage anyone who needs extra help or information to come and talk to their work coach.”

The new system aims to simplify the benefits process and help those who are in work to increase their hours and earnings.

It is made up of a standard allowance and includes extra amounts for those who are eligible in areas such as housing, those who have children, or those who have a disability or health condition.

It can be claimed by those in and out of work, with no limit on the amount of hours a claimant can work per week, but the amount paid decreases as claimants earn more.

Claimants may also have to wait up to six weeks before they receive their first payment under the scheme, due to it being paid monthly in arrears, which has led to criticism.

Minister for employment Alok Sharma said: “Universal Credit is central to our commitment to help families improve their lives by moving into work.

"We know it’s working – with Universal Credit people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system."

Universal Credit was brought in in 2013 and has been gradually introduced across the UK in stages since then.