Government has made some welcome changes to Universal Credit, but if you’re a new claimant you still have to wait five weeks to receive your first payment. We don’t think that’s right. The five-week wait is having untold impact on communities and individuals across the UK and The Salvation Army is seeing an increase in demand for its services..
No-one should be forced to try and pre-book food parcels because the state has denied them an income, nor should they be facing £1000s in rent arrears; but from what you’ve told us that’s sadly the situation many in our communities find themselves in.
The Salvation Army has tracked a rise in the number of people approaching our churches and services who are struggling to use Universal Credit. Over the last six months, nearly half of all food bank uses recorded were due to changes or delays in benefits, including the five-week wait.
Advanced loans offered to alleviate immediate financial pressures were originally seen as the answer to the problems. However, The Salvation Army finds that they are creating on-going financial hardship on claimants. Advanced payments are failing to rectify problems of debt that the five-week wait creates.
The Salvation Army will be asking you to contact your MP raising our concerns – and including any of your own as well!
If you’re keen to engage with your local MP further or are keen to go and speak to them in person, feel free to contact the Public Affairs Unit. We can offer some advice and assistance to make sure you get the most out of the meeting.
Together we can end the five-week wait.
For more information on any of our campaigns and find out how to get involved, email CountMeIn@SalvationArmy.org.uk