Digital ‘training’ for UC claimants could costs councils millions
Benefit claimants will need significant training on digital and financial skills to use the new Universal Credit (UC) system, research indicates.
Three London councils were commissioned by the DWP to estimate how much investment this would require, using government data. Seen by the Guardian, the unpublished study shows each council would have to spend about £6m over a two-year period to support vulnerable claimants to get online.
Many claimants do not have internet at home, or even bank accounts, and are used to a weekly income. Local authorities are expected to ensure claimants can get basic explanatory advice and training, as well as guidance on financial management.
The research warned that those people who fail to get to grips to the new system could face debts, arrears and even eviction and homelessness. One in ten users of UC are likely to need “intensive or ongoing support”, the study suggested.
UC has been severely criticised in a number of reports for poor management and its slower than intended roll-out.
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