Nearly half the people on Universal Credit are struggling to pay their bills, according to damning findings buried in a government survey, published on the quiet while MPs were away from Parliament yesterday (June 8).

The Conservatives still think they can release information when nobody will notice. They still don’t understand that somebody is always looking.

The survey itself was written in an attempt to hide the worst findings, which are buried deep in the 82-page document. But we find that:

  • 44% of claimants were either “falling behind” with bills or “experiencing real financial difficulties” three months into their UC claim.
  • That figure reduced by just a fraction to 40% for people who were eight or nine months into their claim.
  • In one group, a third of claimants admitted they took money from friends and family, while 11% applied for a bank overdraft.
  • Others were forced to use charities, payday loan firms and doorstep lenders, the survey confirmed.
  • Meanwhile just over a third (35-36%) were in arrears on housing costs. And for almost half of those people (44%), the arrears had got bigger by the time they were eight or nine months into their claim.

The survey was carried out by IFF research for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) between March and September last year.

It questioned 2,194 people in a first wave, 931 of whom offered to be re-questioned for a second wave. A further 1,422 claimants were selected for the second wave alone.

Here’s the reality of Universal Credit:

Now look at the way the DWP is discussing the survey:

You can be financially motivated in several ways.

For example, you could be making ends meet, and then have an offer of work that improves your situation.

Or you could be told that the government will take money away from you if you don’t do exactly as you are told. That’s blackmail.

Which do you think the Tories are doing?

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