Universal Credit Benefit Payments To Be Paid Monthly To Prepare Claimants For Work

Benefits To Be Paid 'Less Frequently'

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Many benefits are to be paid less frequently, in a move ministers say will better prepare jobless claimants for the world of work.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith wants the new Universal Credit to be delivered monthly, replacing mainly fortnightly payments.

The change is part of a raft of extra detail about the implementation of a major shake-up of the system being unveiled as the House of Lords starts to examine the legislation.

And it is likely to further inflame opposition to the cost-cutting crackdown being planned by the coalition in an effort to slash £5.5 billion from the welfare bill in real terms over four years.

The legislation's centrepiece is the creation of a new universal credit to replace a complex range of existing payments such as child tax credit, housing benefit and income support.

It also imposes tougher sanctions on people who refuse work and replaces the disability living allowance with a new personal independence payment.

Parts of the package have sparked serious opposition from disability groups, childcare campaigners and anti-poverty experts who claim many vulnerable people will be among the worst hit.

The Children's Society warned recently that a planned cap on the total benefits households can claim could make more than 80,000 children homeless and push many thousands more into poverty.

That came after evidence emerged of concern at a very senior level within the Department of Communities and Local Government that the move risked making 40,000 families homeless.

The Government says the aim of the Welfare Reform Bill is to "make work pay" and clamp down hard on benefit cheats - a cause Prime Minister David Cameron has personally championed.


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