A NEW system has been introduced in Bury with the aim of making the process of claiming benefits more simple.

People used to claim one or more of six benefits but the government’s view was that this was “problematic and confusing”.

Now, the six have been replaced with one, called the Universal Credit.

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said: “This has made the system easier to understand and administer, and ensures people are better off if they work than they would be on welfare.

“And because it allows job centres to access real-time earnings data, it means that exactly the right level of support is in place to help people on their journey into work.”

Minister for Welfare Reform, David Freud, said: “I am delighted that Universal Credit has gone live in Bury as we continue to extend this ground-breaking reform in a careful and controlled way across the country.

“With record numbers of people in work, Universal Credit is destined to play a huge part in helping to build a stronger and more resilient economy for the future as part of our long-term economic plan.”

He added: “Claimants can now rest assured that when they increase their hours they will be better off financially, rather than fearing their benefits will be cut as a consequence of taking on more work.”

The government has employed “job coaches”, to offer a wide range of help to people seeking work and Job Centre computer systems have been improved so people can search for more positions.

Steve Johnson, Job Centre district manager covering Prestwich, said: “We have the latest technology in place and staff have been fully trained to give claimants the best support available to help them move off benefits and into work.

“Under Universal Credit, claimants will benefit from far better work incentives and will be able to increase their hours more easily than the previous system allowed.

“This is an exciting time for local people and we are very much looking forward to developing our role as coaches and mentors as we help claimants to find and keep work.”