Bid to calm Spain pain UNIVERSALLY DISCREDITED
Benefit sparks turmoil
FAMILIES are falling behind with the rent as the controversial Universal Credit takes its toll.
And households are resorting to loan sharks as the new benefit is rolled out across the country.
A report reveals that among claimants who pay rent, 41 per cent are in arrears, with 82 per cent saying it is for the first time.
The study carried out for the Department for Work and THOUSANDS of people demonstrated in Madrid and Barcelona yesterday in a last-ditch attempt to stave off a national crisis amid Catalonia’s threat to secede from the rest of Spain.
Protests were held simultaneously under the slogan “Shall We Talk?” in an effort to push legislators in both cities to start negotiating.
Catalonia’s regional president Carles Pensions also shows large numbers are forced to borrow, with seven per cent turning to doorstep lenders and five per cent taking payday loans.
Almost 30 per cent rely on a loan from family and friends.
Major issues with the new benefit – such as harsh sanctions and delays in payments – have caused misery and sparked anger.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Many people are struggling to make ends meet Puigdemont has vowed to make good last Sunday’s disputed referendum on secession won by the Yes side. Meanwhile, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned that the vote was illegal and Catalonia was going nowhere.
Catalonia’s regional chief for business Santi Vila said he was pushing for “a new opportunity for dialogue” with Spanish authorities. while they wait for their first Universal Credit payment.
“As the Government pushes ahead with thee accelerated rollout, it’s morere crucial than ever it addresses ddresses problems withth the benefit and ensures anyone who needs it can get the financial ancial and practical support port they need while applying.”lying.” Universal Credit dit replaces six x means- tested benefits and tax credits with one payment. Charlotte Hughes, a campaigner in Ashton-under-Lyne, Gtr Manchester – a pilot area for the new scheme – said: “Universal Credit is hell on earth.” The sanctions rate for universal credit claiman claimants is three times as high as it is for Jobseeker’s Allowance, a separate report shows. There are currently 533,000 peop people on Universal Credit in Eng England and Wales, with aro around 50,000 new clai claims each month.
CAMPAIGNER: Charlotte Hughes