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Universal Credit placing ‘impossible bind’ on single parents

Unreasonable requirements placed on single parents by Universal Credit are driving more to debt and poverty, a charity has warned today.

The message follows a report from national charity Gingerbread which argued that the criteria to claim the benefits are often “impossible” for people to fulfil.

UC represents the first time that single parents with children aged three and four are required to prove that they are searching for jobs or risk having their benefits sanctioned.

With limited part-time and flexible work opportunities and a lack of suitable, affordable childcare, the organisation says single parents will struggle to find work that also allows them to care for their pre-school aged children.

“While discussions of Universal Credit have focused on the important and detrimental delays in payments and waiting times, there are other crucial changes that have slipped under the radar,” commented Gingerbread’s director of policy, Dalia Ben-Galim.

“Our research shows that single parents of three and four-year-old children are being put in an impossible bind by Universal Credit conditions – forced to seek work when suitable roles aren’t available, and placed at risk of having their benefits sanctioned, which could push them and their children further into poverty and debt.”

Gingerbread are the most recent name in a string of organisations who have called on the government to make changes to UC rules.

Earlier this week, the Resolution Foundation claimed the new welfare system was in danger of damaging the most vulnerable people in society because of long waits for benefits and poor implementation.

In addition, one of the pilot authorities for the new scheme, Southwark Council, blamed UC for rising rent arrears and increased food bank use in its borough in late October.

Top image: Jax10289

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