Universal Credit driving people to food banks

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Welfare Secretary Amber Rudd has admitted Universal Credit has pushed more people to rely on food banks.
Ms Rudd said she accepted a link between soaring food bank use and the Government’s hated flagship benefit shake-up.
She told MPs that the difficulties in accessing cash could have been “the main issue” behind the surge in people going hungry.
The number of emergency food parcels handed out by the Trussell Trust charity has soared from 61,000 in 2010/11 to 1.3million last year.
Independent Together has previously warned that the universal credit roll-out is driving people to foodbanks and, potentially, onto the streets.
Independent Together is responsible for providing leaving care services for 16-25-year olds throughout Greater Manchester’s boroughs.  Director Paul Barlow says the Universal Credit roll out is causing hardship throughout the region.
Says Paul:
“Problems with the rollout of Universal Credit, which merges six existing benefits into one, have dogged the system since work on it started in 2010.
“Two of the main reasons for referrals to foodbanks are benefit delays and benefit changes.
“The roll out of universal credit in Greater Manchester is far from complete and the uncertainty is driving people to foodbanks and even onto the streets.
“For the young adults in our care we can absorb some of the financial pain and help them out over the first few weeks.   Others can fall out of the system through no fault of their own.”
Added Paul:
“We already know that there are over 500 rough sleepers on Greater Manchester’s streets every night – twice as many as official figures suggest.
“While Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is tackling homelessness, the administrative uncertainty around Universal Credit is hampering progress.”

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