Following Meghan Markle and Prince Harry‘s announcement that they were returning to England for Queen Elizabeth II‘s Platinum Jubilee, a photo of one of the…
Cakes were given to staff in 40 different locations to mark the end of the system's introduction in Northern Ireland.
The flagship welfare programme will be in every job centre in the UK by the end of the month, for anyone making a new claim.
Others on benefits will be rolled over to the new system in the coming months and years.
Now Stormont's Department for Communities has come under fire for celebrating it, Irish News reported.
SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon described the move as "tasteless and insensitive".
The North Belfast MLA said: "To brand cakes with the Universal Credit logo is tasteless and insensitive. It shows a careless disregard for the impact it is having on those families forced into debt and in through the doors of food banks."
Defending the purchase of cakes, a DfC spokeswoman said in a statement to the paper: "The process of rolling out Universal Credit in Northern Ireland began in September 2017 and completed on December 5 2018.
"This was a significant and challenging implementation effort for the department, involving the recruitment and training of almost 2,000 staff across 40 locations throughout the province.
"To mark the completion of this task, a total of £1,125 was spent to purchase 40 cakes which were shared amongst 2,000 staff at team building events across Northern Ireland.
"The cakes were provided to mark the end of the introduction of Universal Credit, recognising the commitment and hard work of staff in delivering the new service to customers across Northern Ireland."
The cakes were also used to celebrate Universal Credit's roll out in England too.
Back in 2017 Neil Couling, the director general of the scheme, posted the snap on Twitter, saying: "In Hove, one of the jobcentres that is part of the expansion of
#UniversalCredit, that begins today."
His tweet was met with furious reactions, with one writing: "Did you pay for that through all the sanctions?"
What to do if you have problems claiming Universal Credit
IF you're experiencing trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments just don't cover costs, here are your options:
Apply for an advance – Claimants are able to get some cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment. But it's a loan which means the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit pay out.
Alternative Payment Arrangements– If you're falling behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an APA which will get your payment sent directly to your landlord. You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split the payments if you're part of a couple.
Budgeting Advance – You may be able to get help from the government to help with emergency household costs of up to £348 if you're single, £464 if you're part of a couple or £812 if you have children. These are only in cases like your cooker breaking down or for help getting a job. You'll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You'll still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.
Cut your Council Tax – You might be able to get a discount on your Council Tax or be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments if your payments aren't enough to cover your rent.
Foodbanks – If you're really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank who will provide you with help for free. You can find your nearest one on the Trussel Trust website.
The new system replaces six benefits into one monthly payment, but the rollout has been beset with issues.
It has faced criticism for pushing Brits into debt as it takes five weeks to get the first payment through.
And others say there have been countless problems with the new system, reporting errors in their payments, and it taking months to get costs back.
The DWP have been approached for comment.
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