Universal Credit to result in Christmas catastrophe for families

Universal Credit to result in Christmas catastrophe for families

The roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) has been criticised by charities and campaigners over five-week delays for payments. New benefit claimants in Glasgow will need to wait till January for payments. Although advance payments are available these must be paid back once benefits are received.

Marion Davis, head of policy for OPFS, said: “Delays in payments, administrative errors and problems with childcare payment for parents in paid work have left some families almost destitute.

“Hunger, anxiety, shame – the UC catastrophe is hitting single parents hardest of all. We know some single mothers are facing a grim Christmas.”

The UC system was severely criticised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Prof. Philip Alston, during his recent UK visit. He had called on the UK Government to halt the delays to payment immediately.

The newly released Joseph Rowntree Foundation Poverty 2018 report found poverty among one parent families is rising four times as much as two parent households. It found nearly half of children in lone-parent families live in poverty (49%) compared with one in four of those in couple families (25%).

Satwat Rehman, Director OPFS, said: “The research in the JRF report ties in with our own findings about the ‘Single-Parent Penalty’ and sadly comes as no surprise. Poverty restricts people’s lives in multiple ways and single parent families are disproportionately affected with almost twice as many of the children living in poverty compared with those in couple families.

We need to turn compassion into action. We need to put this situation right so that single parent families have a decent standard of living that allows them to grow and progress in their lives. Poverty exists in Scotland and affects us all, it restricts people’s ability to take part in society, and it can be solved by boosting incomes and reducing costs of living.”

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