1. ITV Report

Benefit claim info to be available on the Nintendo Wii

The changes are intended to help those on benefits get information on the changes being imposed by government. Photo: Press Association

Information on how to claim benefits will be accessible through games consoles under a new system being promoted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The new system is an "opportunity" for those on benefits to "build online skills", Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said.

Information on the Universal Credit scheme is already available to some digital TV viewers using the "red button" technology, but now it will now be accessed by users of Nintendo's Wii console.

The TV information channels have had more than 30,000 hits since they were launched at the end of October, according to Looking Local, the organisation behind the service.

Ministers hope the TV service will help get the information on Universal Credit to the estimated seven million British adults without an internet connection. The plans are part of a public information campaign to help people adjust to the sweeping changes made under Iain Duncan Smith's tenure as Work and Pension's Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said the plans were about helping those on benefits understand the ongoing changes to the welfare system, and enable them to "benefit from what the online world offers for 21st century life."

As we continue with the rollout of Universal Credit, increasing numbers of people will need to know how it affects them and how to prepare.

Working with Looking Local, we have ensured as many tools as possible exist for people to find out everything they need to know about the easier-to-understand and more flexible benefit that is Universal Credit.

We are also making sure Universal Credit is an opportunity for people to build online skills, so they can look for work and benefit from what the online world offers for 21st century life.

Those with an interactive television can already view various pieces of information on their eligibility for claiming Universal Credit, and learning how they can make a claim.

The Universal Credit programme merges six benefits into one and is intended to simplify the system and make sure it always pays to be in work.

But the project has suffered a series of setbacks and Whitehall's spending watchdog has said the DWP failed to achieve ''value for money'' in its development and needed to adopt ''realistic expectations'' on the timetable for its delivery.