170 new Northern Ireland jobs in Universal Credit provision
The Department for Communities has announced it has secured an £8million Westminster Government contract and with it 170 jobs for the provision of Universal Credit and Benefit Cap support to claimants.
The contract will provide 150 new posts in Ballymena and the remaining 20 in Londonderry. Although some workers will be employed through internal civil service recruitment, the majority of the staff are expected to found externally.
The contract is for an initial two year period, usual in terms of allowing both parties to review their operations.
Posts will be in the main administrative in nature, paying an average salary of £19,000.
The posts will assist in the delivery of Universal Credit and the Benefit Cap across Great Britain on behalf of Department of Work and Pensions, and are expected to be fully operational by next autumn.
Minister Paul Givan confirmed the contract while visiting DWP offices in London, he said: “This new contract is the second to be secured by my department this year on behalf of DWP and underscores their confidence in the quality skills and service our staff in Northern Ireland consistently deliver.
"Providing services to Great Britain on behalf of DWP is now a core part of my department’s business. I am confident the new contract will provide excellent opportunities at the sites in Ballymena and Londonderry.”
Earlier this year, the department announced 280 jobs to provide additional services to DWP starting next year and 100 staff have been recruited so far.
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley, whose constituency includes Ballymena, welcomed the jobs boost.
He said: "I have been asking Government to think North Antrim when it comes to job creation and this is a tangible example of the practical outworking of that call."