Benefit changes rolled out with pilot launch across north west

Michael Bow
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THE GOVERNMENT yesterday set the ball rolling on its shake up of the benefits system by introducing universal credit for the first time in Greater Manchester .

The test launch of the new benefit system – which wraps a myriad of payments like jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit and child tax credit into one benefit – took place yesterday at a job centre in Ashton-under-Lyne, with people able to make a claim to the benefit for the first time.

The roll out is set to take place across the north west ahead of a national launch this autumn.

“We will bring in this radical and vital reform in a careful and controlled way,” work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

The universal credit programme is set to be completed across the UK by 2017.