Foodbanks can’t cope with universal credit fallout

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Charity warns that new benefit is leading more people to seek emergency food parcels 

25th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Foodbanks are ill prepared to cope with the fallout from the introduction of Universal Credit (UC), a leading charity has said.

The Trussell Trust, which gave out nearly 1.2million emergency food parcels last year, said that while aspects of the new benefit were welcome, delays with payments are already causing misery for low income families. It is calling on the government to halt the roll out of the controversial new benefits system.

Britain’s biggest foodbank charity said problems with UC had forced demand on one of its centres up by 67%.

The new system, which brings together all benefits into one monthly payment, is set to be rolled out more widely across the UK next month.

However claimants currently on UC have complained about delays and administrative errors with the new online system. 

Trussell Trust chief executive Mark Ward said: "Universal Credit has the potential to be transformative: we welcome the intention to simplify a previously complicated system and make work pay.

"However, in its current form, we fear it is doing more harm than good for some of our country's most vulnerable people.

"Foodbanks tell us that Universal Credit is inadvertently leaving people without any money for six or more weeks, leading to debt, rental arrears, and poor mental health.

"People in seasonal or insecure work are finding it difficult to budget as they don’t know how much they’ll get paid next month.

"It's led to one foodbank seeing a 67% increase in their referrals, and another has been working flat out to help people with their claims."

Under Scotland’s new social security system UC will be paid fortnightly with rent payments going direct to landlords instead of claimants.

The warning comes after Tory millionaire Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed the rise of foodbanks was "uplifting".

Rees-Mogg claimed charity handouts to desperate families "show what a good compassionate country we are."

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