The End Hunger UK coalition have launched a petition today calling on the Prime Minister to fix universal credit.
In areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out, foodbanks and other food aid providers report a surge in the numbers of people pushed into greater debt, destitution and hunger as a result of delays, errors, a lack of flexibility and adequate support.
Therefore as a matter of urgency, the End Hunger UK coalition has launched a petition calling on the government to:
- Take action to improve the flexibility and support for people on Universal Credit.
- Make improvements to Universal Credit, to ensure it does not leave more people at risk of debt and destitution.
- Make a long-term commitment to ensure Universal Credit provides people with enough income to afford good food on a regular basis.
The key policy recommendations that are laid out in the report that accompanies the petition are as follows.
In the short term: better training for staff and increased flexibility for claimants.
- Welfare rights and debt advice as part of Universal Support
- Flexibility in Universal Credit applications to allow for telephone applications
- Increased awareness and implementation of Alternative Pay Arrangements (APAs)
- Improved claimant commitments to ensure conditionality is genuinely tailored to circumstances
In the medium term: improving the design of Universal Credit, to ensure it does not leave more people at risk of debt and destitution
- Reduce the wait time for first payments of Universal Credit from five weeks to two
- Reduce the level of advance loan repayments from 40% to 10% per month
- Introduce a true yellow card warning system before issuing sanctions that involve the actual suspension of Universal Credit payments
In the long term: a commitment to ensure Universal Credit provides people with enough income to afford good food on a regular basis
- Universal Credit levels brought in line with the actual cost of living
- Payments for people with disabilities restored to pre-April 2017 levels
The End Hunger UK is a coalition that has a vision for the UK to be a nation where everyone has access to good food, and nobody has to go to bed hungry. It is supported by many national organisations, including: Baptists Together; Child Poverty Action Group; Church Action on Poverty; he Church of England; the Church of Scotland; Fareshare; First Steps Nutrition Trust; Food Bank As It Is; Food Ethics Council; Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty; The Food Foundation; the Independent Food Aid Network; Food Matters; Magic Breakfast; the Methodist Church; Nourish Scotland; Oxfam; Quaker Peace and Social Witness; Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming; The Trussell Trust; and the United Reformed Church.
Published 11 Jul 2018
Food Poverty: Over 5 million people in the UK struggle to get enough to eat. We’re working to change that through people-powered projects and campaigns that tackle the root causes of food poverty and ensure everyone has dignified access to healthy, affordable food.
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