William Eichler 11 September 2017

Universal Credit pushing people into ‘spiral of debt’, charity warns

Universal Credit pushing people into ‘spiral of debt’, charity warns image

The expansion of Universal Credit (UC) is a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ because many of its problems have not been solved including the long wait for payments, charity warns.

A new report from Citizens Advice analysed over 50,000 cases where it had helped people with their debt problems and found for those on UC 79% had priority debts, such as rent or council tax, compared to 69% on legacy benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance or Housing Benefit.

It also found two in fvie (41%) had no money available to pay creditors as their monthly spend on essential living costs is more than their income. Typically, according to the report, people on UC only had around £3 a month left to pay creditors.

In light of these findings, which build on a report published in July, Citizens Advice called on the Government to pause the roll-out of UC to ensure no one applying for it waits longer than six weeks for an income, and that anyone who needs it gets a payment within two weeks that they do not need to repay.

‘The roll-out of Universal Credit is a disaster waiting to happen,’ the charity’s chief executive, Gillian Guy, said.

‘While the principles behind Universal Credit are sound, our evidence shows that if the Government continues to take this stubborn approach to the expansion of Universal Credit, it risks pushing thousands of families into a spiral of debt, and placing an even greater strain on public services.

‘People face severe consequences - like visits from bailiffs and eviction - when they can't pay their bills. But Government can help protect these households by taking the simple step of pausing Universal Credit and fixing the underlying problems, so families are less likely to fall into arrears.

‘The Government should also ensure that everyone has access to the support they need to adapt to Universal Credit.’ 

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Looked After Children and Vulnerable Young People

Enfield London Borough Council
Up to £89,319
 This is an exciting opportunity to lead all the services that support Enfield’s children in care and care leavers. Enfield (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Enfield London Borough Council

Head of Communities

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
to £61,751 (pay award pending)
We are looking for an innovative and knowledgeable senior professional to join our leadership team with strong experience of working in communities... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Economic Development Officer (Town Centres)

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878 per annum
The Economic Development Officer (Town Centres) post forms part of the Council’s Business Focus team who provide help directly to businesses. Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Educational Psychologist

Camden London Borough Council
£44,131 - £53,34
The ideal candidates will have an excellent understanding of psychological frameworks and their application in... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Economic Development Officer

North West Leicestershire District Council
Band F, £29,636 - £32,878
Are you interested in a challenge and want to help shape the future of North West Leicestershire? Coalville, Leicestershire
Recuriter: North West Leicestershire District Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue