Lamont received update on Universal Credit from Eyemouth Job Centre

Staff involved remain overwhelmingly positive about the benefits of Universal Credit, local MP John Lamont has said following a visit to Eyemouth Job Centre.

The feedback is the same as the experience of staff at Galashiels and Hawick Job Centres.

The visit comes as changes to Universal Credit come in to force this week that mean people are able to earn more before their benefits are gradually reduced.

Now rolled out fully in the Scottish Borders, Universal Credit replaces six benefits into one simplified payment, which encourages people into work and provides tailored support.

After some initial problems with the roll out of the new benefit, the UK Government announced a range of changes, including a £1.7bn more in funding, a free phone number, a reduction in the waiting times for first payments and advances of up to 100% of the first monthly payment.

Thanks to this extra funding, the system is now more generous than the one it replaces, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Commenting, John Lamont MP said: “My thanks go to the staff at Eyemouth Job Centre for giving up their time to share their experience of how Universal Credit is working in practice.

“The experience in Eyemouth, like in Hawick and Galashiels of staff and claimants is that Universal Credit is a vast improvement on the old system.

“While there have undoubtedly been some teething problems, as is inevitable with such a major change, Universal Credit is a more generous system than the one it replaces. It also a much more simple system for claimants and staff and importantly, by gradually reducing when someone finds a job, it makes work pay.

“I am always available to help any constituents who are having issues with the transfer to Universal Credit, but it’s important that the debate around this change is based on facts, rather than what people might read in the newspapers.”