Ten years of draconian austerity measures in the UK—have created a perfect storm of human rights violations against already marginalized populations. source
Ministers claim millions have been helped by Universal Credit — but the reality of this crisis is very different. The Covid-19 shutdown will see an even greater demand for Universal Credit and help from food banks.
As coronavirus hardship sets in, the ever-rising growth in debt, poverty, and help from food banks will continue.
The Government claims to have helped two million people through its Universal Credit system since the coronavirus crisis and associated lockdown. However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been withholding information on the real picture — and their claim is now unravelling under scrutiny.
In a ministerial answer it has finally been revealed that, of the first 800,000 people to seek help from Universal Credit since the crisis began, a third got nothing. Not a penny.
DWP are still withholding the stats for April and May. If the figures remain consistent, about 660,000 people seeking help will have got nothing under Universal Credit. Despite being in operation for seven years, another 140,000 people did not even get their claim processed in time. That is 40% of all people seeking help being let down.
800,000 got nothing and 500,000 are now in debt to the DWP
A further 500,000 people were forced to receive their Universal Credit in the form of a loan – the only option available to claimants who can’t afford basics like food, rent or utility bills during the mandatory five week delay for a first payment. DWP has lent over £320 million since the crisis began.
As people begin to pay these costs back and hardship sets in, the ever-rising growth in debt, poverty, and demand for help from foodbanks will continue as the broken system takes its grim toll. People have even been made desperate enough to enter into sex work as a result of the abysmal, shocking reality of Universal Credit.
When ministers say two million people have been helped, the truth is very different. 800,000 got nothing and 500,000 are now in debt to the DWP. In total, that’s almost two thirds of all people seeking help.
This will have shocked and appalled the people claiming help, who have been working and contributing through taxes and National Insurance. The new Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Jonathan Reynolds, has already suggested that people who have contributed are right to expect support when they need it.
A very significant further rise in unemployment as a result of the pandemic is widely predicted and the Government is already looking to end support, including the furlough scheme. This will lead to greater demand for Universal Credit.
Working people deserve to know that they can rely on a functioning social security system for support if they need it. Sadly, Universal Credit will only continue to let them down.
Where to go for benefits help
- Benefits calculators – check before you make a claim
- Turn2Us – a national charity offering benefits information, grants and support
- Citizens Advice – help with benefits, consumer issues and other work and financial matters
- Universal Credit Claimants could be entitled to further benefit support
- Universal Credit: Benefit debt repayment pause to end next month
- Universal Credit Claimants could get bonus
- Universal Credit What is Discretionary Housing Payment?
- Universal Credit How to get money on the day you claim
- Universal Credit: Budgeting Advances are available
- Advisers urge ministers to review benefit cap in wake of coronavirus
- Spotlight on Universal Credit
- Universal Credit: How you can apply for an advance to assist your living costs
- Universal Credit claims – the one critical thing people on Tax Credits need to know about DWP
- Extra financial help if you claim universal credit
- How people with no recourse to public funds are surviving in the coronavirus pandemic
- Universal Credit UK: The two reasons why you may be able to get the work allowance
- Single mother left worse off by universal credit increase launches legal challenge over ‘perverse’ benefit rules
- Universal Credit pay block: Mum’s battle as benefit cap halts Covid-19 cash boost
- Coronavirus: ‘There is help out there if you ask for it’
- From being an MP to claiming universal credit
- Top judges rule against Government in DWP Universal Credit case that could help thousands
- Self-employed couple warn that applying for Universal Credit to get through lockdown left them WORSE off
- Universal Credit: Citizens Advice call for drastic changes – advances should be suspended
- ‘It’s not a magic bullet’: Life on Universal Credit in lockdown
- Benefit claimants unlawfully short-changed, court rules
- Universal Credit claims surge in first full month of lockdown