I was hugely concerned to be told by Jobcentre Plus that from today Merseyside District will be operating a so called “trailblazer” that will mean that claiming online will be the only option for new Job Seekers Allowance claimants.
Whilst claimants who don’t have access to the internet will be signposted to free providers, I am hugely concerned that this move will disadvantage many people who are not online at home, or who don’t yet have the skills to use the internet. Delays to benefits being processed and claimed is already a major challenge, and I fear that this will make the problem worse. Benefit delays have been identified as being a significant contributory factor in the doubling of people having to access food banks in Liverpool, and this could cause a further rise.
At a time when our economy is still suffering the effects of double dip recession, and unemployment in Wavertree continues to rise, the government should be pulling out all the stops to help people get back to work, not making it more difficult for them to access employment services.
I will be watching this “trailblazer” closely to identify any problems that may arise. If this new system is causing a problem for you, please let me know, and I will take it up directly with the DWP.