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Families excluded from benefit pilot

03 May 2013

by a staff reporter

THE huge reform of the benefit system, which began this week with the introduction of Universal Credit in a pilot area, must not become a "lost opportunity", the Children's Society has warned.

The first pilot started in Greater Manchester this week, but will be only for single new claimants. Universal Credit will replace income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, income support, child tax credit, working tax credit, and housing benefit.

The chief executive of the Children's Society, Matthew Reed, said: "The introduction of Universal Credit is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to simplify the benefit system and make work pay. The fact that families with children are not being targeted during its testing phase is of great concern.

"Once fully implemented, the new benefit system will affect nearly seven million children - half of all children in the UK. By not including families with children now, any problems will not be picked up before it is rolled out across the country from October.

"These reforms to the benefit system must not become a lost opportunity. We are concerned that, though some families will clearly benefit, many of those most in need will lose out."

The Government says that families with children will benefit most from the change.

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