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‘Shambolic’ credit system slammed

Thursday, 23 November 2017

‘Shambolic’ credit system slammed thumbnailMayor Joan Baird. CC47-104S

CAUSEWAY Coast and Glens' First Citizen has warned that Universal Credit will be "shambolic" in Northern Ireland.
Just days after the new online benefit payment was rolled out in Ballymoney UUP Mayor Joan Baird said: "It is going to mean a very, very tough time for people who are already very much at the edge of society and suffering from social deprivation."
Councillor Baird's hard-hitting comments came during Citizens Advice Causeway's Annual General Meeting on Friday (November 17), two days after Universal Credit came into effect in Ballymoney.
The payment, which replaces six benefits, was introduced in Limavady on September 27 when claimants became the first in Northern Ireland to claim it. It will come into effect in Coleraine on December 13, less than a fortnight before Christmas.
Universal Credit, for people aged 18 to State Pension age, aims to remove many of the barriers to work which exist in the current welfare system.
Councillor Baird paid tribute to the Citizens Advice Causeway team who dealt with more than 20,593 enquiries last year, generating nearly £2 million of income for clients through benefit uptake and appeal representation. Hard-working staff and volunteers also helped over-stretched clients deal with £217,673 of debt.
*Read the full story in this week's Chronicle

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