CHESHIRE will be one of the first areas in the UK to start the welfare revolution with the introduction of universal credit.

From April, some people making new claims for unemployment benefits will start receiving universal credit instead of jobseeker’s allowance.

Universal credit will replace six major benefits and tax credits, and is designed to get people closer to the world of work.

It will be paid monthly and will be accessed online.

The scheme is being introduced in Cheshire ahead of the national roll-out later in the year.

Karen Broughton, director of service delivery at the Money Advice Service, said there are four easy steps to help claimants prepare themselves for the change.

Make sure you have a bank account (or similar). Universal credit will be paid straight into your account.

Decide whether you need a joint account. If you live with your partner, and you’re both eligible for universal credit, you’ll get a single monthly payment which can be paid into a joint or an individual account.

Check whether you can set up automated bill payments.

Draw up a monthly budget. Universal credit is paid monthly, so you will need to budget when you move to the new system.

Try keeping a spending diary for a few weeks, recording money coming in and payments going out.