Earlier this month I had the pleasure to visit Chatham Jobcentre and see their work and creative initiatives to help get more Medway people back into work.
On 30 May this year, Universal Credit began its initial roll out for most working age residents across Medway, and given some of the issues reported in other areas I was keen to see its progress in our local area. Universal Credit replaces the complex old system of 6 main out-of-work benefits with one simple monthly payment and is paid the same way many working people are.
After speaking with the Customer Services Team Leader I was encouraged to hear that the rollout has been managed well so far. The rollout of Universal Credit in Medway will be fully complete in the coming months and I will be keeping in close contact with the Jobcentre to ensure Medway avoids some of the issues felt elsewhere. It was great to hear directly from the team at Chatham about some of the individual successes they have already had.
I am pleased to maintain a close relationship with Chatham Jobcentre and continue to work closely with them in the future. For instance, in May, the Jobcentre was of great help to many in sharing and advertising my Rochester and Strood apprenticeship fair and I was pleased to meet a number of jobseekers on the day. I hope to repeat this successful event again.
The out of work claimant rate in Rochester and Strood has remained below the national average which is a credit to our strengthening local and national economies. However this is also thanks to the hard work of advisers at Chatham Jobcentre who go above and beyond to see their customers find suitable and rewarding work.