Information about Universal Credit benefits can now be found on Nintendo Wii consoles

The Department for Work and Pensions revealed the new system after a turbulent introduction of the Universal Credit programme

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The Independent Online

Gamers can now use their consoles to find out how to claim benefits as part of a new system put in place by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The public can already find information on the Universal Credit scheme via the red button on some digital TV sets, but now this technology can be accessed on the popular Nintendo Wii console.

The TV information channels have had more than 30,000 hits since their launch at the end of October according to Looking Local, the firm that designed what is the only public sector service interface for a games console.

The Government hopes that the services will enable the estimated seven million adults without an internet connection to access information on Universal Credit more easily.

Statistics published in August by the Office for National Statistics show that only a third of elderly people in the UK have ever used the internet.

Customers of Sky and Virgin with interactive TVs can already check their eligibility for the benefit, and learn how they can claim it.

Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud said: “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.

"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."

The Universal Credit programme merges six benefits into one and is intended to simplify the system, but has suffered a series of setbacks.

The National Audit Office has said that the DWP failed to achieve “value for money” in its development and needed to adopt “realistic expectations” on the timetable for its delivery.

The watchdog’s warning came after Secretary for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith admitted that more than £40million of expenditure on the new systems had been written off.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude was forced to deny reports of a rift with Mr Duncan Smith over Universal Credit, but said its initial implementation had been “pretty lamentable”.

Additional reporting by PA