There are so many things to look forward to in June and further ahead this Summer - numerous fairs, hopefully some wonderful weather and the start of the World Cup, Wimbledon next month, and then for many of course family holidays.

However, there is one development that puts a dark cloud over all these things for some people, and that is the start of Universal Credit, with its rollout in Richmond Borough scheduled to start from June 20.

The rollout of Universal Credit has taken some years to come to Richmond. In principle the simplified system of benefits is supposed to make life easier for people on benefits by collapsing six complex benefits into just one. For people out of work, or in low paid work, it will introduce just a single monthly payment.

The earlier rollouts of the scheme saw numerous horror stories of people going without money for as long as two months. Hopefully these shouldn’t occur, certainly not in such higher numbers, as the period before the first payment has now been cut.

Advance payments also now exist, although awareness of this is currently low.

And it should be stressed the advance payment is a loan – and people will still have to pay it back, although not with any interest. The repayments will be automatically deducted from future Universal Credit payments until the advance is fully paid back.

It is an option people should at least consider, while they wait for their first full payment.

Yet, even with these changes to the system I remain apprehensive that some people will get hurt for no fault of their own as they have to adjust to a very different system. It will certainly be a challenging time for people who are not confident in dealing with money and claims online.

And even for those who can confidently manage online applications there still remain some problems with the new benefit.

For example, the work allowance that is part of Universal Credit needs to be increased. This is vital to support people in low paid jobs. If Universal Credit exists to ensure taking up work is always beneficial, then this needs to change.

We need to also ensure that Universal Credit doesn’t let down victims of domestic abuse, who might need to flee a home. In such circumstances there are real risk in payments made to a household as opposed to individuals.

In the run up the 20 June I would encourage people concerned about these changes to take a look at the Citizens Advice Bureau website, which has some excellent advice and guidance, especially about receiving advance payments.

And in the weeks and months ahead the Citizens Advice Bureaux, the JobCentre and of course my advice surgery are there to help people through these difficult changes.

Vince Cable MP