By Daniel Hunter

New jobseekers in Inverness and Rugby will be able to make a claim for Universal Credit today (Monday) as the new benefit rolls out.

Universal Credit rolls 6 benefits into 1 and is a vital reform to the welfare state that rewards work.

Jobseekers will also be required to sign the new Claimant Commitment. This sets out more fully what jobseekers must do in order to receive state support — providing clear information about the consequences of failing to meet requirements.

Universal Credit started in Hammersmith last month and is up and running in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area. It will expand to Harrogate, Bath and Shotton by the spring.

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said: "Universal Credit is modern welfare that rewards people who move into work, supports those who’ve fallen on hard times and is fair to taxpayers.

"We are introducing Universal Credit in a slow, safe and controlled way. This careful approach is working well and we’re in a strong position as we bring Universal Credit to Inverness and Rugby for the first time.

"Most people are claiming it online, the IT is working and comprehensive support is in place. We will build on these successes as Universal Credit continues to roll out."

People who claim Universal Credit have access to support delivered by a mix of local authorities and third sector organisations to help them budget their money, get online and manage their claim online.

Other developments to support the cultural transformation Universal Credit will bring include:

- the introduction of the Claimant Commitment in 100 jobcentres a month until it is fully in place nationally in the spring

- 6,000 new computers in Jobcentres across the country for claimants to look and apply for jobs online, replacing the dated job points.

The first claimants to Universal Credit are single jobseekers and the majority of claims will be made online. Universal Credit claims will respond in real time to changes in people’s circumstances, including when they take a job.

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