Highlands & Islands

Worries about accessing new universal credit online

Keyboard and mouse Image copyright PA
Image caption The working group said internet coverage was challenging in some areas

Concerns have been raised that people living in areas with poor internet connections will have problems accessing the new universal credit.

The new benefits system is due to be introduced by the UK government next year.

Highland Council's welfare reform working group has worries that claiming and maintaining benefit will primarily be done online.

The group said internet coverage was a problem in some parts of the region.

Members of the group, which met last month, have agreed to seek meetings with local MPs to discuss the issue and other concerns they have about the universal credit.

Efforts are being made to roll out faster broadband across the Highlands and Islands.

In September, BT made an announcement on an £8m project that would improve connections for Dingwall, Tain, Thurso, Alness and Invergordon.

Highland Council's welfare reform working group was set up in August amid controversy.

The council's Independent Group leader Carolyn Wilson accused the SNP-led ruling administration of acting "like a dictatorship" after independent councillors were at first offered just one place on the group.

The SNP described Ms Wilson's claims as "preposterous".

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