Wera was taken on a tour around Bath JobCentre Plus...
Bath JobCentre is an invaluable public asset for the city of Bath. Not only does it provide an entirely free job hunting advice and training for those looking for work, but is also the medium through which benefit claimants interact with the state.
Bath and North East Somerset was the 9th to trial the rollout of the new Universal Credit benefits system. It is designed to consolidate numerous benefits paid at different times into one single payment every month.
The aim of the coalition government flagship policy was to encourage budgeting, and to help people out of a cycle of unemployment and reliance on benefits.
The new system has received widespread criticism as people have to wait 6 weeks for payment (one of which will be unpaid) as they transfer from one system to the other. The government has now U-turned on the policy under pressure, leaving people waiting 5 weeks for payment instead.
Wera Hobhouse said "I was incredibly impressed by the team at Bath JobCentre. They were dedicated, friendly and passionate public servants, and really believe in what they do. I was pleased to hear that the senior management team think that their staff have the appropriate levels of flexibility to deal with people as human beings, and not as another number in the system."
"Many people who come into my surgeries are having problems with Universal Credit. I look forward to having a far closer working relationship with the team at Bath JobCentre, so we can collectively help people in some really difficult situations. If you're reading this, and think that I might be able to help you with benefit related issues, please do get in touch!"