Politics

Universal Credit claimants get off dole by taking part in new Rishi Sunak scheme

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The team of former Universal Credit claimants turned jobcentre staff have helped process more than 2.5 million benefit claims and one million advance payments and have made 250,000 proactive telephone calls per week to help jobseekers with their work search.

They are part of 6,000 additional staff in total recruited since mid-March while thousands more were redeployed to frontline roles to help respond to the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

The recruitment was the early stage of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s plans to get Britain back to work which he outlined to Parliament last week.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies said: “From the offset, we’ve moved at pace to support families across the country, redeploying our staff onto the frontline to ensure we can promptly provide vital financial support and guidance. 

“And in the process, we’ve already changed people’s lives by getting over a thousand former jobseekers from being claimants to becoming Work Coaches.

“As we our boost our economic recovery and move to get Britain working again our Work Coaches will be front and centre in our drive to revive our jobs market and help people pivot into new roles.

“I hope to see more claimants with the skills we need be able to take up this opportunity and make the switch, to join our excellent DWP team effort, as we push forward with optimism to re-energise our country.”

One of the former jobseekers, Chloe Ashcroft, told the Sunday Express: “I had been applying for jobs in the charity sector since graduating last summer and now I’m helping process Universal Credit claims, and making sure people aren’t without money during the pandemic.

“I was so excited and nervous about this job, but I enjoy working to help people and being part of this great team. I understand the worry that people are experiencing with uncertain employment and am glad that I’m able to be in a position to help others.”

The DWP said that jobcentres across the UK gradually seeing more people face-to-face, the department’s plan to provide tailored support will put jobcentres back at the heart of communities by working with local employers and organisations. 

The figures on recruits have been revealed after the department announced this week it would double the number of work coaches to 27,000 in an effort to get Britain working again.

There are concerns that the knock-on effects of the pandemic means that hundreds of thousands may lose their jobs.

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