Citizens Advice Peterborough has joined forces with degree researchers from University Centre Peterborough to assess how the rollout of the Universal Credit is affecting local residents.
Universal Credit represents the biggest change to the welfare system since its creation. It brings together six different benefits into a single monthly payment and by 2022, Universal Credit is expected to affect 21,500 households across Peterborough1.
The sheer scale of Universal Credit creates many challenges, and this has been clear in its development so far. The IT, administration and policy changes involved place huge a demand on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Jobcentres and claimants themselves2.
As we approach the first anniversary of the full-service roll out of Universal Credit in Peterborough, this collaborative project between Citizens Advice Peterborough and University Centre Peterborough involves listening to Peterborough claimants to discuss their experience of claiming and living on the new benefit, to explore the local impact of Universal Credit.
Nicky Rees, Advice Operations Supervisor at Citizens Advice Peterborough said;
“The principles behind Universal Credit are sound, but a mix of flaws in how the benefit was designed and problems with how it is being delivered is leaving many people’s finances in tatters. We’ve already had over 2,000 enquiries in Peterborough from people who are having problems with Universal Credit since November 2017. This joint project will allow us to explore further the local impact of Universal Credit, to work towards influencing change both locally and nationally. If anyone does run into problems with Universal Credit, don’t hesitate to contact Citizens Advice Peterborough3 for help.”
Course leader for BA (Hons) Sociology at the University Centre Paul Wilks, comments;
“We are delighted to be working with Citizens Advice on this project. In the social sciences we are looking for every opportunity to contribute to the life of the city and we see this as a hugely important project. Most of our students are local and will have experience of the benefit, directly or indirectly. The decision to participate in this project was therefore an easy one.”
The report is due to be published in November 2018. In the meantime, if you have experience with Universal Credit and would like to participate in the project please contact the University Centre Peterborough Research Team at firstname.lastname@example.org, alternatively please complete their online survey4.
University Centre Peterborough currently has around 700 students on over 30 different degree level programmes.
Park Crescent, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE1 4DZ