Benefits Crisis: Over Half of Universal Credit Claimants Couldn’t Afford Food in January

Universal Credit was imposed to provide a more sustainable benefit to claimants than previous schemes, but in January, over half the claimants couldn’t even afford food.

Urgent Plea for Long-Term Support

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The Trussell Trust, a charity fighting poverty in the UK, has warned that over 50% of those claiming Universal Credit ran out of food last month and struggled to pay bills.

Chancellor Must Provide

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has been told to immediately provide more financial support for those struggling on Universal Credit after the report was released. 

Universal Credit Scheme Explained

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As opposed to previous benefit systems in the UK, the Universal Credit system aims to encourage people to work if they are able by having them show proof that they are seeking employment.

A System Still Broken?

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Despite suggestions that the Universal Credit system works better than previous benefit schemes, reports have shown that people struggle to keep up with food and bill payments.

Financial Strains and Bill Difficulties

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The research by YouGov, on behalf of the Trussell Trust, also showed that 52% of universal credit claimants are struggling to afford to pay the bills.

Findings Report More Rent Strugglers Than Before

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The National Housing Federation claimed that rent arrears are a major issue for those applying for Universal Credit, revealing that they’re more likely to fall behind on rent than those on previous schemes.

Alarming Statistics Unveiled by YouGov Survey

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The YouGov research revealed that 780,000 claimants on Universal Credit (12%) resorted to food banks in the last month, showing that more funding could be needed.

Food Shortages and Financial Struggles

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Over half, or 55%, of Universal Credit recipients ran out of food in the past month, showing the financial struggles a significant portion of the UK population faces.

Inability to Cook Hot Meals

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Further distressing findings reveal that 22% of claimants were unable to cook hot meals in the last three months due to financial constraints, meaning they couldn’t afford to run electric and gas appliances.

Energy Prices Soar

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According to the government and gas companies, energy prices have soared in the last few years due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Gas Profits Soar Ten-Fold

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Despite these claims, British Gas, a leading energy distributor, reported financial profits in 2023 of £751 million, exceeding last year’s profit by a staggering 1000%.

Unite Union Speaks Out Against British Gas

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The Unite Union has called out British Gas for its record profits, claiming they “come off the back of exorbitant energy bills,” and the British people now suffer as a result.

British Gas CEO Defends Record Profits

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British Gas CEO Chris O’Shea defended the profits, stressing the need for sustainability and profitability. 

Shifting The Blame

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O’Shea claimed that every UK consumer pays an additional £88 due to the failures of other energy suppliers in recent years.

Widespread Financial Challenges

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The YouGov report showed that 2.4 million individuals (37%) fell into debt due to difficulties in managing essential bills.

Substantial Debt Incurred

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A staggering 3.4 million Universal Credit claimants (52%) faced challenges in meeting bills, with 42% falling behind on one or more household bills.

Council Tax Hikes

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In February, Council Tax also hiked for almost every council in the country, raising the average cost of council tax to £103 per household.

Staggering Figures Show UC Rent Struggle

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The National Housing Federation showed that of all the households experiencing rent arrears in the UK, 73% of them claim Universal Credit.

Landlords Express Concern

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Private landlords have expressed concerns about renting out to those claiming the service, with two-thirds of surveyed landlords revealing they would rather not do business with them.

Advocacy for an Essentials Guarantee

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To combat the ongoing crisis, The Trussell Trust called on the UK government to introduce an “Essentials Guarantee,” to ensure households have at least enough to cover the bills and food costs.

The post Benefits Crisis: Over Half of Universal Credit Claimants Couldn’t Afford Food in January first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

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