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More than half of Universal Credit claimants – and nearly half of those on ‘legacy’ benefits frozen by the Tories – have struggled to pay for essentials like food, or have gone without altogether, new research shows.

Citizens Advice has found that 55 per cent of Universal Credit claimants have gone without essentials such as food, and 51 per cent say they have lost sleep because of their finances.

The charity found 49 per cent of claimants affected by the benefits freeze struggled to meet essential costs such as rent, household bills and food while 40 per cent lost sleep due to money worries in the past 12 months.

Disabled people and people with children were more likely to have gone without essentials such as food and toiletries. Around 44 per cent of disabled people’s households and 45 per cent of households with children went without in the past 12 months.

If you thought This Writer was making up all those stories about sick and disabled people being pushed towards death by benefit deprivation, now you know better!

And just remember: One in every six UK households claims income-related benefits.

The charity is calling on the government to end the freeze on benefit rates that has been ongoing since April 2016, and reduce the five-week wait for Universal Credit claims.

It wants payments uprated by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation plus two per cent for four years, the Local Housing Allowance recalculated to at least the 30th percentile of local rents and the link with rental prices re-established.

And it wants the first non-repayable payment of Universal Credit brought forward to no later than two weeks into a Universal Credit claim.

Fat chance of that happening under a Boris Johnson government!

And it is important to bear in mind that, while BoJob is botching up Brexit and boring even his own MPs with dull demands for a general election when he can’t get his own way, the Tories are still bringing agony to millions of people with their benefit denial system.

Citizens Advice quoted Danielle, a mother-of-two who said: “I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I went through chemotherapy and now I am in remission and health-wise am doing so much better.

“Universal Credit during this time added so much stress that I did not need. My payments were delayed when I went from being self-employed to being off due to needing chemotherapy.

“Thankfully I have family who were able to help me to make sure my rent was paid. And I repaid them when I received my Universal Credit payments. But the stress of thinking I might not be there for my children and how I would pay my bills was at times unbearable.”

The stress was at times unbearable.

The whole point of social security benefits is in the second word of the title: Security.

Only the Conservatives could take something that was intended to make people feel safe while they look for a new source of gainful income, and turn it into a threat against their mental health, and indeed their lives.

But that is what they have done. They’ve been doing it for more than nine years, since they came into office, and they’re doing it as you read this. They will continue doing it until they are stopped.

And the only person who can stop them is you.

Read the full Citizens Advice report, Achieving income security for all here

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