Universal Credit fears

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AS much support as possible will be given to those changing to Universal Credit.

Labour councillor Judith Smyth feared for Portsmouth residents who would be affected by the new benefits system.

Speaking at full council yesterday, she said: ‘Since the national roll-out of Universal Credit not a day has passed without further revelations of problems for those people. The problems suffered by those are almost inevitable to affect our services.’

But head of resources, Cllr Jeanette Smith, assured her that support was available which was reflected in her proposal for an amended motion. It stated the cabinet must be: ‘Maintaining and monitoring existing support services for claimants, especially those in their first year of Universal Credit.’

The amendment also stipulated that all-member briefings involving both councillors and MPs on the benefit must be held.

Cllr Smith said: ‘I would like to highlight the great work the council and charities have done in anticipation of this national policy.’

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the amended motion that sought to ease the transition to Universal Credit.