Research published today shows how pensioners go into debt, visit food outlets and go without meals as they’ve struggled over the past few months.
Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)
One study found that one-third of people claiming Universal Credit today eat just one meal or don’t eat for the whole winter.
A YouGov poll of 1,506 UC recipients for the Trussell Trust food banking network found that two in five people are forced into debt just to eat and pay the bills.
With more than 5.7 million people claiming the benefit, it shows 1.8 million may have skipped food or ate it only once in 24 hours.
About 17% of those in the top Government welfare payers need to visit a food bank at least once since early December.
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The research comes as the charity is bracing for a fresh surge in demand next month as energy prices rise, National Insurance rises and council taxes rise.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “Currently, the cost of living is forcing hundreds of thousands of families across the country into a spiral of debt.
“People are telling us that they are spending days on minimal food, are enduring the cold to save money and are being forced to turn to food outlets with devastating impacts on their lives. people’s mental health.
“Social Security has to protect people from debt and food funds, not push them toward it.”
Inflation stands at 5.4% and is likely to jump further when the latest figures are released.
Experts believe it could hit 8% – but the benefit will only increase by 3.1% from April 6, meaning claimants will get a big real-time conditional cut.
Ms Revie called on the Government to increase benefits at least by current inflation when Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced the Mini Budget in her Spring Statement on Wednesday.
She said: “We are calling on the UK Government to deliver benefits matching the minimum inflation rate forecast in the upcoming Spring Statement, to prevent thousands more from being forced into debt. and through grocery stores.
“In the long run, it is important that we strengthen our social security system to protect us all from harm and invest in local crisis assistance so that no one needs to use the food goods to get.”
Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Jonathan Ashworth said: “Twelve years of Tory economic failure have plunged families into a devastating cost of living crisis due to rising energy bills, increased prices, punitive taxes and a second universal credit cut in six months.
“It means people – often at work – turn to the food court and are burdened with mounting debt.
“In recent weeks, I have heard from families at food outlets about the impossible choices they are making between heating and eating, for example, one woman saying she is not getting enough. the ability to keep electricity bills to keep his refrigerator.
Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
“The upcoming NIC increases must be halted and ministers should impose a one-time income tax on oil and gas producers to ease energy bills for struggling families.”
A Government spokesman said: “We recognize the pressures people are facing with the cost of living which is why we are providing £21 billion worth of support over the year. This financial and next to help.
“This includes putting an average of £1,000 more a year into the pockets of working families through changes to the Common Credit, a fuel tax freeze to reduce costs and help households pay your energy bills through our £9.1 billion Energy Bills Rebate.
“We are also raising the minimum wage to more than £1,000 a year for full-time workers and our £500 million Household Support Fund is helping the most vulnerable with essential expenses.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/universal-credit-claimants-winter-debt-26483598 A third of Common Credit claimants skipped meals this winter - and it's only getting worse