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Hundreds Of Computers Removed From Jobcentres Just As UC Rolled Out

March 4, 2019

The number of computers available for use in Jobcentres in England has been cut by more than 350 – just as a new benefits system that requires claimants to use the internet is being rolled out.

This year, 6,409 terminals are in place for job-hunters – down from 6,761 last year, government figures show

Claimants need to log on to a computer to apply for Universal Credit, the new state benefit that replaces a raft of benefits including income support and jobseeker’s allowance.

Concerns have been raised that many of those who need financial support do not have a laptop or internet access at home, but defenders of the new system say those claiming can use computer terminals in Jobcentres.

Critics said there should be more terminals, not fewer.

A reply to a written question in Parliament this month revealed that 6,761 devices were in place in Jobcentres between 2015 and 2018.

But this year the number has dropped to 6,409 – 352 fewer.

Alok Sharma, a minister at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), said the fall was “due to the rationalisation of the DWP estate”.

His reply stated: “These figures include 44 new up-to-date customer devices which have been installed and are currently being trialled in three offices in England from 2019.

“This should result in all devices in England being replaced during 2019 with new bespoke machines designed to support the Universal Credit customer journey.”

Labour MP Kevin Brennan, who asked the parliamentary question on computer numbers, said: “Those claiming Universal Credit need more access to computer terminals not less.

“This shows the Tories are out of touch with the reality of life for individuals and families struggling to make ends meet in austerity Britain.”

Manny Hothi, head of policy at Trust for London, an anti-poverty charity, said: “From our research we know that some people are struggling to get online in order to manage their Universal Credit claims.

“We would expect there to be more computers, not less, alongside assistance from Jobcentre staff, to help those who struggle to get online.”

Christians Against Poverty has previously said more than a fifth of people it helped did not have internet access at home.

A regional breakdown showed the number of computers for use in Jobcentres had fallen in all areas. There were 75 fewer in the northeast; 71 fewer in London and the home counties; 58 fewer in the northwest, and 57 fewer in the south.

The department has been asked to respond. 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2019 2:47 pm

    Manny Hothi, head of policy at Trust for London, ***an anti-poverty charity***

    https://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Accounts/Ends29/0000205629_AC_20171231_E_C.pdf
    (Page 20)

    Manny Hothi, Director of Policy –
    https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/about/team/director-policy/

    Blags between – “£80,001 and £90,000” PA
    Kerchinggggg

    Bharat Mehta CBE, Chief Executive –
    https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/about/team/bharat-mehta/

    Blags between – “£130,001 and £140,000” PA
    Kerchinggggg

    Trust for London – Disabled People
    https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/issues/people/disabled-people/
    “research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found that 18% of Disabled people aged 16-64 are living in food poverty”

    … but we are too busy spending our blagged salaries in Harrods and going to the Opera to be bothered to call the Cops or Social Services.

    ***”an anti-poverty charity”***

    Yeah.

  2. March 4, 2019 5:03 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

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