Thousands of people will face a miserable Christmas as a result of having to claim Universal Credit according to a new survey by Unite the Union.
The results were published to coincide with a national day of action against UC on December 1, with an event planned from 11am to 2pm at outside Wakefield Cathedral.
The findings of the study made grim reading and identified a number of issues facing a significant number of people claiming the benefit.
Rent arrears were raised by a number of people and the fear of eviction was evident in the responses. Many claimants reported the problems of monthly budgeting on a low income. Disabled people and those who are sick reported a huge drop in income as a result of moving on to UC.
The vast majority (82 per cent) have a negative view of the new benefit and a significant number had problems either claiming the benefit online or maintaining their claim through an on-line journal.
Unite is using the evidence collected from the survey to lobby politicians and is calling for a stop to the controversial new UC system.
Unite the Union has called for Universal Credit to be scrapped before more damage is done.
Unite regional campaigner, Ryan Case said: “Universal Credit is causing misery and suffering as the survey results clearly show. Despite knowing this, the government is still intent on ploughing ahead regardless, while claimants are descending into debt, relying on food banks and getting into rent arrears and in some cases being evicted from their homes.
“Evidence from voluntary and community organisations as well as unions and local authorities seems to be ignored as the government presses on with the implementation of Universal Credit.
“Access to the benefit has been devised for the benefit of administrators not the recipients of Universal Credit. The damage done by forcing people into debt, far from helping people into work, as the government claims, is driving people away from the job market as spiralling debt impacts on people’s mental and physical wellbeing.
“As we head into winter, many claimants cannot afford warm clothing for themselves or their children and don’t have enough money to heat their homes. It will be a very bleak Christmas for thousands of families who are being abandoned by this government.”