The news came yesterday on the year anniversary of the scheme’s launch where the full new benefit, which combines six payments into one, became available.
Currently, local authorities in Wigan, Warrington, Tameside and Oldham have access to the scheme, but now 90 job centres around these areas will offer the full benefit when the expansion is completed.
“Universal Credit is changing lives. We are seeing claimants move smoothly into work, safe in the knowledge that support from Universal Credit remains with them,” claimed Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform.
“We now have ten sites successfully running Universal Credit in England, Scotland and Wales and the next step is to open the new benefits to claimants across the North West – as part of our safe and secure roll-out,” he added.
Besides expanding throughout the North West, the programme will be made available to couple in a few job centres already delivering Universal Credit from summer and will expand to all live sites over time.
According to the government, one achievement of the scheme is that the roll-out of digital job centres, where wi-fi and computers will be available at all sites, will be complete by Autumn.
However the UK press reports that Universal Credit leader Howard Shiplee is ill and not working full time, causing concern about a lack of commitment.
Despite this, DWP have claimed Shiplee is at work and “fully engaged.”