‘PREMEDITATED cruelty,’ is how Norfolk campaigners have described Universal Credit, which they call to be immediately scrapped.
They have organised a meeting at City Hall tonight. Many families and single people have been forced onto Universal Credit in the last week, meaning that as every claimant has to wait five weeks until the first payment, thousands will not have a penny through Xmas and into the New Year.
Mark Harrison, chair of Norfolk Against Universal Credit, a coalition of organisations, said: ‘We are holding this public meeting to highlight that struggling families in Norwich are being pushed into destitution. ‘The government know from the experience of Great Yarmouth that foodbank use will rise hugely, evictions and homelessness will increase dramatically and it will damage people’s mental health. That is why this is premeditated cruelty.’ The meeting will take place from 7pm until 9pm.
Meanwhile, a dad has been forced to sell his own shoes after being left penniless on Universal Credit, in order to buy his son presents for Xmas. A 46-year-old man from Plymouth man, spoke to local media outlet PlymouthLive.
He said: ‘I am selling my belongings, that’s how bad it’s got. I am selling my belongings so my son can have a Christmas.
‘I have had to sell my shoes tonight, the ones I walk out in. I’m now down to my last pair of trainers, the ones on my feet. I sold my Animal trainers, the ones my partner bought me, so we can get stuff for Christmas.’
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: ‘Councils are housing more than 120,000 homeless children in temporary accommodation, increasing at a rate of over 900 extra homeless children a month in recent years.
‘This is making it even harder for us to prevent and deal with the wider factors impacting on low income families, as well as being financially unsustainable for councils.
‘To tackle the issue, including the worrying growth in in-work poverty, government needs to resource and fully engage with councils to prevent homelessness and support people into jobs to lift themselves out of poverty. ‘Welfare reforms also need to be adapted to reduce the risk of homelessness and councils need more powers to build more affordable homes.’