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More than half of universal credit recipients ‘ran out of food in past month’ – survey | UK News

More than half of universal credit recipients ‘ran out of food in past month’ – survey | UK News

More than half of people on universal credit have recently been unable to afford more food after running out, according to a survey.

The research, commissioned by anti-poverty charity the Trussell Trust, shows in the previous month one in eight (12%) had used a food bank while 55% had run out of food and could not afford more.

The group is urging the government to introduce an “essentials guarantee”, so the basic rate of universal credit is always enough to cover life’s essentials.

“Food banks do all they can to support people in their communities, but charities alone can’t take the place of a social security system that should support any of us who have fallen on hard times and need help,” chief executive Emma Revie said.

The YouGov findings show 52% of people claiming the benefit are either behind on bills and credit commitments or are finding it a constant struggle to keep up.

More than two-fifths (42%) are behind on one household bill or more.

The research – carried out from 18 January to 5 February – also found 22% of universal credit recipients couldn’t cook hot food in the past three months as they can’t afford to use their oven or other kitchen gadgets.

Meanwhile, a struggle to afford the cost transport in the past three months meant 26% have missed an essential appointment, such as visiting the doctor or travelling to work.

Some 43% of people reported being unable to keep their home warm this winter.

The Trussell Trust says temporary measures, such as the cost-of-living payments, have helped people on the lowest incomes – but they have only provided short-term respite.

YouGov surveyed more than 1,300 people who are claiming universal credit.

Read more:
Cost of living payments 2024: Dates and who can get it
‘Worried’ Gordon Brown calls for Universal Credit rethink

A spokesperson for the government said they are providing £104bn in cost of living support “worth on average £3,700 per household”.

This includes “investing over £2bn into the Household Support Fund to help those in most need”, and they claim almost £800m has been paid out to families with children so far.

“We know work is the best route out of poverty – so we’re going even further, raising the National Living Wage, cutting National Insurance, curbing inflation and investing billions through our Back to Work plan to break down barriers to work so even more people can secure long-term financial security,” they added.

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