Letter: A six week wait for Universal Credit is too long

Date published: 29 January 2017

Dear Editor,

In its current state Universal Credit is not fit for families.

Families need to know they are protected when they are at their most vulnerable. If the safety net isn’t there when they need it, there’s nothing to stop them slipping into free fall.

Already people receiving Universal Credit have reported facing destitution and relying on food banks to survive while they wait for this arbitrary period to pass.

That’s why Child Poverty Action Group is urgently asking the government to drop the six-week waiting period to get benefits and take a step towards making Universal Credit fit for families.

The idea behind the six-week wait is that people will have a month’s salary to fall back on if they lose their job, but many people in low-paid jobs are not paid monthly, and many will simply not have enough money in the bank to last them six weeks.

Research by Shelter last year found that 23% of working families with children wouldn’t be able to cover their housing costs for a month if they lost their job. Another 14% could only manage for one month, not more, yet many families may have to make two monthly rent payments during the six weeks they wait for Universal Credit.

A recent study found that 86% of council tenants on Universal Credit have rent arrears, compared with 39% of tenants overall. Several local authorities where Universal Credit has been rolled out have reported rising arrears, and are also struggling to house people on Universal Credit with private landlords who fear delays in receiving payment.

Concerned readers of Rochdale online can lobby their Member of Parliament on this issue in a few moments at:

Thank you.


Andrew Wastling

The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Rochdale Online.

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