Monday, 3 December 2018

'Universal credit is the worst thing to ever happen to me and my family' says Wrexham Mum

Emma Holland and her son Freddie
On Saturday local Mum Emma Holland, joined Plaid Cymru volunteers in the town centre to collect petition signatures against Universal Credit. The system, which was introduced by the Tory Government, is a new payment designed to replace several working-age benefits, including housing benefit and tax credits. It's currently being rolled out across Wrexham and now affects 4587 local families according to a recent council report, 40% of whom are in employment.

Universal Credit has been widely condemned because of the uneccesary hardship it causes to families due to delayed payments and a variety of other flaws in the system. Many families have reported falling behind with rent payments or having to rely on food banks to feed themselves.

Local Mum Emma Holland who helped organise the stall on Saturday due to her own experience with the system said: "I was put onto Universal Credit last December when I changed jobs. Immediately I was put into debt as I couldn’t wait 6 weeks for a payment and had to borrow £650 which I am still paying off."

"Since my changeover two major errors have been made on my claim, both resulting in financial hardship for me and my two sons. My income has also reduced overall. My biggest problem occurred in November when two separate months wages were put together to give me an artificially inflated salary. This meant that I only received £240 universal credit for the month instead of the £850 I was due to receive. Despite the fact I have appealed, Universal Credit have refused to give me the amount was entitled to, blaming my work and even me for not ringing in my earnings when I did notify them by phone. As a result myself and my children have had to rely on donated food this month."

"Universal Credit is the worst thing to ever happen to me and my family".

Plaid Cymru Cllr Carrie Harper said: "Emma's experience is one we're unfortunately hearing more of since the roll-out expanded in Wrexham last October. It's horrific that local people are having to rely on food donations because of the draconion and cold way this system has being implemented. The Tories just don't seem to care about the way the flaws in the system are impacting on people's lives. Thanks to Emma's initiative we collected hundreds of signatures from concerned residents calling for the system to be halted on Saturday and gave out hundreds more leaflets to raise awareness about what's happening."

"The way this has system been implemented is completely incompetent, with even the National Audtit Office saying the programme suffered from 'weak management, ineffective control and poor governance'. The roll out of Universal Credit should be halted immediately so familes like Emma's don't have to suffer this bodged attempt at welfare reform".

A new Facebook group has been set up for residents to share their concerns and discuss their experiences at 'Wrexham against Universal Credit'. The petition can be signed by clicking here.

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