Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: -0°C

Search

‘I have never felt so vulnerable’ - your reaction to controversy over Universal Credit

PUBLISHED: 12:40 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:40 12 October 2018

Citizens Advice have revealed the serious impact new benefits could have on disabled people living in Suffolk Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Citizens Advice have revealed the serious impact new benefits could have on disabled people living in Suffolk Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

The newly-introduced Universal Credit has been controversial across the country, with John Major even describing it as the new poll tax.

A recent report on the Ipswich Star and the East Anglian Daily Times has received a huge response from readers in Suffolk and Essex - with many taking to Facebook to express their views.

While some people have been forced to visit food banks or rely on their family because of insufficient funds, others believe to be better off after receiving the payment which is intended to help those on a low income or who are out of work.

According to latest Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) data, 13,885 households were on Universal Credit - which combines a series of benefits into a single payment - in June 2018.

A full UC service is already in place across most of Suffolk and north Essex – with parts of Suffolk Coastal, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury due to be completed later this year.

This is what our readers had to say:

■ One person commented: “I was in hospital in June and for the first time in 22 years I was unable to work and had to claim. I didn’t receive enough to cover all my bills and had to get food from a food bank.

“At 62 years old I have never felt so vulnerable. I feel so sorry for younger people with kids. I only managed because my kids helped me - never in all my working life did I expect to have to depend on my kids.”

■ Also impacted by the new benefit, one Facebook user said: “They refused me as unable to work even with medical documentation, so I’m still meant to be available to do limited work, whatever it is. But I had a PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and they agreed I was unfit to work.”

■ Another person was outraged by the new system and said: “My daughter has just gone back to work part time (her little girl is two years old) and she had to claim Universal Credit, but they have messed up her money so much.

“She got paid early from work due to bank holiday and because it fell in the same time frame as her last pay day she got no money from Universal Credit at all. She was only paid two days early! She is now in over £1,000 debt due to them, and would of been better off not returning to work!”

■ Other readers shared their disgust, saying: “Cuts and hardship inflicted on the sick, vulnerable and poor is unacceptable in a civilised wealthy country,” and: “They tell you that you can live off such a small amount of money for a month which is a joke. With no money to go to work or even to get to work it is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.”

■ Meanwhile one reader disagreed with the backlash Universal Credit has received, saying: “I’m better off under the Universal Credit system, it gives me MUCH more freedom to work what I want, regarding overtime etc and you can practically never build up an overpayment in my case.”

Do you have a story to share about your experience with Universal Credit? Join in the conversation on our Facebook post or get in touch via email.

A substance misuse service for people across Suffolk has been rated ‘good’ by health inspectors.

Suffolk’s primary schools have seen a boost in their Key Stage 2 results - although the county is still behind the national average.

Two defendants accused of murdering Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens allegedly showed no reaction when they were told he had died, a court has heard.

An ex-housing support centre in Ipswich will be revitalised to provide 47 rooms in the town after the borough council approved plans for a new development.

Burglars who broke into the St Elizabeth Hospice charity shop in Ipswich stole around £300.

Three of the defendants accused of murdering Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens were allegedly seen together in the town centre two hours after the attack, a court heard.

A commercial parking enforcement company has been criticised for fining lorry drivers trying to serve customers at a distribution park - with claims it is being “unethical” and operating a “mafia-style protection racket”.

Colchester Zoo announced the death of one of their beloved residents yesterday. Readers took to social media to express their condolences.

Today the luxury candle market is booming, and while it’s still dominated by giants like Yankee Candle, which takes up 46% of the market, a number of smaller firms are lighting up the sector too - especially in the festive season.

Households in Suffolk could see council tax bills rise by 4.7% next year if the county’s local authorities and police do as the government suggests in its local government settlement.

Most read

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24