Introduction of Universal Credit

updated: 18 December 2013

The Pathfinder for Universal Credit started on 29 April 2013 with the introduction of this new benefit in one Jobcentre Plus office (Ashton under Lyne) This was followed by Wigan on 1 July 2013 and Warrington and Oldham on 29 July 2013. The roll out of Universal Credit will continue from late October 2013 in selected Jobcentres. Universal Credit will replace a number of means-tested benefits including the means-tested element of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). It will not replace contributory based JSA.

The Claimant Count measures the number of people claiming benefits principally for the reason of being unemployed. Since October 1996 it has been a count of the number of people claiming JSA. Following a consultation in 2012 by ONS, it was agreed that, with the introduction of Universal Credit, the Claimant Count would include:

  • people claiming contribution-based JSA (which is not affected by the introduction of Universal Credit),
  • people claiming means-tested JSA during the transition period while this benefit is being gradually phased out, and
  • people claiming Universal Credit who are not earning and who are subject to a full set of labour market jobseeker requirements, that is required to be actively seeking work and available to start work.

The Claimant Count figures from May 2013 do not include claimants of Universal Credit. The absence of Universal Credit claimants has a small effect on the Claimant Count from May onwards. As at 30 September 2013 there were 2,030 Universal Credit claimants in the affected areas. Further information on the number of Universal Credit claimants can be found in a DWP document (pdf).

ONS is working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to include jobseeker Universal Credit claims in the Claimant Count statistics as soon as possible. Universal Credit information will be collated and quality assured by DWP statisticians to ensure that they meet the necessary quality standards before being passed to ONS for inclusion in the Claimant Count estimates.

Some of the areas partially affected by the geographic coverage of the Pathfinder exercise as at November 2013 are:

Region: E12000002 North West
E12000007 London
Local Authority: County/Unitary: E11000001 Greater Manchester
Local Authority: Local/Unitary: E08000008 Tameside
E08000010 Wigan
E06000007 Warrington
E08000004 Oldham
Parliamentary Constituencies 2010: E14000537 Ashton-under-Lyne
E14000661 Denton and Reddish
E14000967 Stalybridge & Hyde
E14000537 Chorley
E14000805 Makerfield
E14000962 St Helens North
E14001039 Wigan
E14001033 West Lancashire
E14001037 Altrincham and Sale
E14000785 Leigh
E14001017 Warrington North
E14001018 Warrington South
E14001024 Weaver Vale
E14000870 Oldham East and Saddleworth
E14000871 Oldham West and Royton
E14000726 Hammersmith