£ 20 universal credit cut could push victims of domestic violence into poverty, charity warns
THE £ 20-a-week reduction in universal credit could mean victims of domestic violence are forced to choose between escaping dangerous situations and having enough money to survive.
Thousands of women could be at significant risk from the changes, according to the Refuge charity.
He calls on ministers to turn around and keep the £ 20 universal credit, which was originally introduced to help struggling families survive the pandemic.
The increase is expected to be liquidated until the end of September, meaning applicants will be worse off at £ 1,040 a year from 6 October.
Refuge CEO Ruth Davison, The Sun “Refuge has seen an increase in domestic violence cases over the past 18 months and Universal Credit is a lifeline for survivors trying to rebuild their lives and flee the abuse, often at a tremendous emotional and financial cost.
“We are concerned that removing the £ 20 increase will push already vulnerable women and children further into poverty and, worryingly, may mean some women must make the difficult choice between staying with an abusive partner or be unable to support themselves and their children.
The charity said two-thirds of abuse survivors using shelters depend on additional payments from Universal Credit.
Refuge also says there are 1.6 million people who have been victims of economic abuse during the pandemic.
The long-term impacts of financial abuse can be devastating, as women face financial instability and poverty, insecure housing, long-term debt and affected credit scores, as well as poor housing. to physical and mental health problems.
Ms Davison warned that cuts to universal credit could exacerbate these problems, making it even more difficult for women to escape these abusive situations.
She added that the current benefit system leaves something to be desired for women and also called for changing the way advance loans work.
She said: “Right now the system can perpetuate abuse.
“Refuge has heard from survivors who wait a long time to receive funds and are forced into long-term debt with prepayment loans before receiving a payment.
“We hear from survivors who struggle to access universal credit and often forgotten migrant women who are excluded from services and unable to access support because they have no recourse to public funds.
“Refuge calls for universal credit advance payments to be made as a grant rather than a loan, and for a social protection system that helps women live lives free from abuse. “
This is the latest in a long line of charity appeals to keep the government going.
Research by the Legatum Institute think tank calculated that the weekly £ 20 supplement saved an additional 650,000 people from poverty.
And the Turn2Us charity said suppressing the uprising could see 500,000 people “trapped in poverty overnight.”
Nearly half of adults receiving universal credit or tax credits fear the next £ 20 cut will affect their ability to feed themselves and one in three said they don’t know if they will be able to continue paying rent or mortgage without it.
A mother of five told The Sun that reduced benefits will push her into debt and find it difficult to pay bills and other essentials.
And new research from Citizens Advice seemed to confirm their fears, showing that 2.3 million people will be in debt after paying their bills when the boost ends.
Six former Conservative Labor and Pensions Secretaries all wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking him to keep the recovery in place.
But the Treasury has repeatedly confirmed its intention to withdraw the additional funds from October 1.
A spokesperson told The Sun: “More than £ 9bn will have been spent on the increase by the end of September. It is only right that economic support is reduced as we come out of this crisis and we are focused on helping people get back to work. “
Emergency measures have already been extended once when the closing date was moved from April 1 to October in the March budget.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can access free and confidential support from Refuge’s 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline on 0808 2000 247 and digital support via Monday’s live chat. to Friday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. via www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk.
What to do if you have problems claiming universal credit
IF you’re having trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or if the payments just don’t cover the fees, here are your options:
- Request an advance – Applicants can get cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment. But this is a loan which means that the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit payment.
- Alternative payment methods – If you are behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to request an APP that will send your payment directly to your landlord. You can also change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split payments if you are in a couple.
- Budget advance – You may be able to get help from the government for emergency cleaning costs of up to £ 348 if you are single, £ 464 if you are in a couple or £ 812 if you have children. These are only in cases such as your stove breaking down or to help you find a job. You will need to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You will still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming universal credit.
- Reduce your housing tax – You may be able to benefit from a reduction on your council tax by requesting a reduction in council tax. Alternatively, you may be eligible for discretionary housing payments to help cover your rent.
- Food banks – If you are really struggling and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local food bank that will provide help for free. You can find the closest one on the Trussell Trust website.
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