IN a bid to help those being affected by the most recent austerity measures, members of Unite the Union in Greater Manchester have been out on the streets outside of Ashton-Under-Lyne job center once again to protest against Universal Credit waiting times.

Locals stand in unity outside Ashton-under-Lyne job centre as applications mean people could take up to 6 weeks. Universal credit is meant to replace six former benefits such as child tax credit, housing benefits, income support, and working tax credits into one easy online only payment.

However, people are saying they have been left short with no housing benefit while they wait for their claims to be reviewed.

New claimants may have to wait until after Christmas for their first payment, leaving families in crisis.

60,000 households with over 40,000 children will have to wait up to 42 days to receive any income in the form of universal credit.

This in turn means that families could potentially be evicted from their housing if they’re unable to find rent for the six weeks until the claim goes through. Families have been unable to feed themselves and in extreme cases families are going to their GP’s to be referred to food banks. This is devastating for some over the festive period, especially for the children who are too young to understand.

Unite the union greater Manchester community branch have been protesting against the benefit reforms and cuts since they were introduced. The incentive behind the reforms was to simplify the benefit system and give people more incentive to go back to work.

Charlotte Hughes, of Unite the Union Greater Manchester, said: “There will be lots more kids going into care this Christmas.

“We were the first hospital in the country to have a food bank in our hospital”.

Universal Credit was legislated in 2011 but has only just been rolled out this year. After further cuts to work allowances, this also means that the total amount you would receive for Universal Credit is significantly less than what you would have been originally awarded on the previous benefits scheme.

ThinkTank Foundation have estimated that 2.5m Low income working households will be more that £1,000 a year worse off when they make the change over.

To donate to your local food bank this Christmas…

Manchester Central Foodbank


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