Universal Credit Pushing People Into Debt And Housing Problems Reveals Survey
More than three quarters of respondents in a survey of over 1,000 Universal Credit (UC) claimants said they had been put into debt, or pushed further into debt by UC with some forced to use foodbanks to survive as well as borrowing from friends and family. Shockingly 60 per cent of respondents said that they had been pushed into housing cost problems.
Thousands of people will face a miserable Christmas as a result of having to claim UC according to the new survey by Unite the Union published to coincide with a national day of action against UC on 1 December 2018.
During six weeks of October and November 1,141 people responded to the survey. The findings make grim reading and identify a number of issues facing a significant number of people claiming the benefit.
Rent arrears were raised by a number of people and the fear of eviction was evident in the responses. Many claimants reported the problems of monthly budgeting on a low income. Disabled people and those who are sick reported a huge drop in income as a result of moving on to UC.
The vast majority (82 per cent) have a negative view of the new benefit and a significant number had problems either claiming the benefit on-line or maintaining their claim through an on-line journal.
Unite is using the evidence collected from the survey to lobby politicians and is calling for a stop to the controversial new UC system.
Unite has called for Universal Credit to be scrapped before more damage is done.
Unite head of Community, Liane Groves said: “Universal Credit is causing misery and suffering as the survey results clearly show. Despite knowing this, the government is still intent on ploughing ahead regardless, while claimants are descending into debt, relying on food banks and getting into rent arrears and in some cases being evicted from their homes.
“Evidence from voluntary and community organisations as well as unions and local authorities seems to be ignored as the government presses on with the implementation of Universal Credit.
“Access to the benefit has been devised for the benefit of administrators not the recipients of Universal Credit. The damage done by forcing people into debt, far from helping people into work, as the government claims, is driving people away from the job market as spiralling debt impacts on people’s mental and physical wellbeing.
“As we head into winter, many claimants cannot afford warm clothing for themselves or their children and don’t have enough money to heat their homes. It will be a very bleak Christmas for thousands of families who are being abandoned by this government.”
The survey was conducted outside job centres by volunteers and was also completed on-line. Unite will be submitting the raw data from the survey to independent academic researchers with a view to further analysis of the responses.
Universal Credit Pushing People Into Debt And Housing Problems Reveals Survey, 29th November 2018, 23:00 PM