Council Prepares For Changes To Welfare System

town hall windows signCouncil workers have received training in how to deal with upcoming changes to the benefits system.

Earlier this year, the authority was given £30,000 from the government to set up Scilly Works, based on a similar scheme in Cornwall.

And staff from Cornwall Works, who have partnered with our Council, visited the islands on Monday to discuss how the changes could affect people here on the islands.

Ellie Moseley from the mainland-based organisation said the visit was to ensure that staff are up to speed on the changes and to make sure residents would be able to use the full range of services on offer.

Access is the biggest problem for islanders, says Ellie. Someone on the mainland needing a benefit calculation can just pop into a Job Centre for five minutes. But you can’t do that here, she says.

Scilly Works has set up a new office at Carn Thomas where people can get local advice. Not everything will be available here, but they can point people towards all sorts of services on the mainland as well as using the Cornwall Works helpline.

Universal Benefits are due to come into effect next April. And Ellie believes many people in Scilly will be better off under the new system.

She says people here often have more than one job, or earn more in the summer than the winter and under the old system, that could result in frequent over or under payments.

The new system works out benefits in real-time, which should reduce errors and make sure people get paid quickly if their circumstances change.

It’s thought that around 30 people on the islands will be affected.