Many households in Stevenage have now received their first ever Universal Credit payment, and many more are still waiting for the cash to arrive.
Those who have been paid will now be acutely aware just how brutal the five-week wait is. Many will have asked for advances and, as a result, they will see their benefits reduced through recovery over the months ahead.
All who are new to universal credit are starting to see just how insufficient it really is and are probably shell-shocked.
Many will now know about the two-child limit and the benefit cap, but everyone will have to face the difficulty of actually living on the rates of benefit offered.
And this is after the Chancellor increased universal credit by £1000 for the next 12 months. Of course, since the cap was not updated at the same time, many other existing claimants will find the cap now applies and they won’t see an additional £1000/yr.
Some may have had their first furlough payments, more or less at the same time as the government “encourages” a return to work and doubles the pressure by flagging reductions in the furlough system from August. Those on furlough don’t know how long it will last or if they have a job to go back to when the furlough scheme is run down. Many firms will fail or contract.
It’s inevitable that in coming months increasing numbers of people will need to make what may be their first UC claim and will have difficulty believing how inadequate and cruel it actually is.
Unlike coronavirus statistics, the numbers of people moving onto benefits or seeking crisis grants are not reported daily or even regularly. They should be and the Conservative government which designed, introduced and defends UC should be held to account.
If you know or have just discovered the injustice of UC, join the Labour Party and help campaign for its replacement with a system that ends the wait and removes the punitive caps and 2 child limit.
If you are a former Labour Party member, rejoin and help us work for fairness.
If you were a tory voter at the last election you may now see the hollowness of their posturing as the party of the people. Join or at least vote Labour in future and help us build real security in times of need.
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