Figures reveal Universal Credit doesn’t fit the bill
Universal Credit is leaving Brits across the country unable to cover essential living costs, new figures have revealed.
As reported by the Mirror Money 80% of people living on Universal Credit claim that it doesn’t cover the cost of day-to-day life, with 72% revealing they had no choice but to borrow and end up in debt, while 56% say they receive less through the new benefit than the previous systems.
Introduced in 2010 Universal Credit was designed to incorporate a number of benefits into a single monthly payment. It replaced Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit and it was claimed by the government around three million working households would benefit.
Figures highlighted by the Treasury show that a couple with two children where one parent earned £30,000 a year would benefit by £425, while a single parent with no housing costs earning £15,000 per year would get £170 more.
However, recent headlines show that people across the country are worse off on the new system and are calling for reform.
Real life impact
One person who has felt the pinch since the roll-out of Universal Credit is mum of three Natasha Seymour. The 28-year-old Sheffield woman found herself struggling and facing house repossession after being transferred on to Universal Credit last autumn
Crippled by anxiety Natasha was forced to give up her job at running an amusement stall at Skegness Butlins in August 2018 but didn’t receive a Universal Credit payment until October, leaving her to live on just £40 child benefits.
“The whole experience has been horrific,” Natasha revealed.
“I have a serious anxiety disorder so when I was unable to continue to work in my previous job at Butlins last year, I was told that I’d be put onto Universal Credit and thought that things would get better – how wrong I was.”
Natasha, who is also currently in a Creditfix IVA, continued: “I was left with no money for almost eight weeks, was threatened with home repossession and left with little information throughout the whole process.
“My three kids and I were living off £40 child benefit while my father had to make my IVA payments for me to make sure I didn’t default and end up in further financial distress.
“I made my original claim on August 2, 2018, and whenever I called looking for information or an update on the process no one seemed to know what was happening and couldn’t tell me anything.
“I waited weeks for my claim to finally be processed and we managed to keep our heads above water as a family but in the meantime household bills such as council tax and the water bill were all left unpaid and I had a notice from my housing association they were looking to repossess my house.
“When I eventually got paid at the end of October I had to make a start of paying back the debts that had built up so I was still left struggling but I’m finally getting there now.”
Natasha and her family have since left their previous home and are currently living with Natasha’s step-grandfather, Keith, as they begin to rebuild their family life.
“I’m fortunate that I’ve had support from my family and am grateful that my dad and step-grandad have been able to help the kids and I.
“I only weigh seven stone and lost a stone during this whole process – it was stressful beyond belief.
“I’m only 5ft2 but I’ve got a loud voice and will continue to share my experience of Universal Credit.”
If universal credit has left you struggling with money or you need some advice on dealing with debts, contact us today and speak to one of our experienced advisors on 0808 2234 102.