Welfare reforms rolled out in London today

THE GOVERNMENT’S flagship benefits reforms will be introduced in part of London from today – the first time that the scheme has been implemented in the capital.

New jobseekers in Hammersmith will now receive Universal Credit, a new benefit that combines six existing payments into one package.

Ministers hope that the policy – which sees claimants receive a single monthly payment to cover everything from housing costs to jobseeker’s support – will ensure that a job always pays more than being on the dole.

However, critics say Universal Credit is too ambitious and the scheme has already been hit by delays. It was originally intended to be rolled out nationwide this month but Hammersmith will now become just the fifth pilot area following trials in Greater Manchester.

Last week City A.M. revealed how ministers have been forced to delay a parallel scheme to transfer people on the existing Disability Living Allowance to a new Personal Independence Payment, just days before it was due to begin. The medical assesment system has struggled to cope with the strain of even a test group of applicants.