The Post Office is hopeful of playing a major role in the administration of the new Universal Credit benefits system. The DWP has always insisted that it hopes that the post office will play a part in the implementation of UC. It states that;
” DWP will continue to work with the Post Office to explore further opportunities for them to support new ways of delivering our welfare reforms. The Post Office could play an important role in delivering the Universal Credit, building on the work already underway in verifying identify as part of the National Insurance application process and in claiming pension benefits. Other new business opportunities for the Post Office in the future include improving accessibility to Jobcentre Plus services, including access to online services via Jobpoint kiosks, and a â€˜print on demandâ€™ service for DWP benefit and information leaflets across the network”
Further evidence of the post office’s future role in Universal Credit has been backed up by the deputy leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Mr Michael Moore who stated; â€œI have campaigned against the closure of our local Post Offices for many years and I look forward to the key role the Post Office is set to play under Government plans, to deliver services such as the Universal Credit and financial services through Credit Unions. It is in these areas where the Post Office will work with both local and national Government in more efficient and innovative ways, putting the network on a sustainable and secure footing.â€
With the Post Office recently losing out on providing pension and benefit payments (to Paypoint and the American owned Citibank) it is hoped that the Universal Credit may be a shot in the arm for the postal service. Sceptics have offered the view that the post office’s role in Universal Credit is just a “fattening exercise” before the Post Office is sold off, surely one of our state assets wouldn’t be sold by the coalition? Should the post office be a main provider for the implemention of Universal Credit and to what extent?