The Government's controversial shake-up of the welfare system starts today with the introduction of the universal credit scheme in Greater Manchester. The all-new inclusive payout replaces several benefits and tax credits, such as jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit, and will be introduced in four local jobcentres in Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Warrington and Wigan.
Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith called the changes a "fundamental cultural shift' to the welfare system," that will "revolutionise the way people experience the welfare state". The Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents staff at jobcentres, is set to stage a protest in Ashton-under-Lyne today, saying that the government should be working towards job creation instead of 'demonising' those out of work and entitled to benefits.
The Universal Credit system will be rolled out from October nationally, with completion due in 2017.
Written and presented by Alfred Joyner