Statement from Chris Grayling (Minister of State (Employment), Work and Pensions;‚Äč Epsom and Ewell, Conservative)

Universal credit will provide a new single system of means-tested support for working-age people who are in or out of work. Support for housing costs will be integrated in the new benefit. Existing means-tested benefits including housing benefit will no longer be required.

Housing benefit for pensioners will be replaced by a component of pension credit and council tax benefit will be replaced by localised council tax support schemes.

The DWP estimates that 20,000 local authority staff work on housing benefit and council tax benefit. The processing of these benefits is largely combined and therefore we do not have an estimate of the number of staff working on each benefit.

We expect that the existing housing benefit scheme will be phased out over a period of four years from 2013 but it is anticipated that local authorities will continue to have an important role in delivery of welfare benefits services. Local authorities in England will administer the discretionary elements of a reformed social fund. Local authorities may also deliver face to face support for claimants who need additional help.

Local authorities will deliver pilots to support claimants in preparation for the introduction of universal credit in October 2013. The pilots, which are expected to start this autumn and end by September 2013, will focus on delivering the face to face support people may need to make claims for universal credit.

While this work continues it is not possible to determine how many staff and what skills and experience will be required for universal credit.

Source: They Work for You

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