A spirited group of unique mums reported the real chaos of Universal Credit in a damning testimony to Parliament. The ladies explained how the Tories six in one benefit, intended to be a better system that makes work pay left them with £1,000 childcare charges, overdue payment fines and even being booted out of the nursery.
One mum said she was forced to turn down her dream job because it would have left her with only £2 a day for food, bills, nappies and petrol.
Thuto Mali, a mum to a two-year-old boy, confessed: “We were at the food bank last Christmas because it got that bad, and it’s not that she didn’t want to work, it simply doesn’t pay to work.
Four women gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee, but Universal Credit has now been rolled out to 1.2 million people and is due to hit 3 million by December 2019 which is forcing the needy into rent arrears and food banks.
Theresa May is facing tremendous demand to pump more money into the benefit, which has been bundled up with billions in welfare cuts since it began in 2013, and so far campaigners have centred on this and other difficulties with the benefit, like the five-week wait for payment.
Nevertheless, the single mums talked about another side to the narrative, on how Universal Credit affects childcare.
Working parents on Universal Credit can claim back 85 per cent of their nursery fees, but they have to pay up front first, and then claim the money back later. This policy saddled mum of two Vikki Waterman with a £1,300 bill which she had to wait five weeks to be paid back.
The 34-year-old was further fined £50 by her nursery because the late benefit payment meant she was two days behind paying for childcare.
She told MPs: “We don’t want to sit at home when we didn’t plan to be single parents,” and she certainly shouldn’t be punished for that. These women want to be able to go to work and to provide for their own families, but at the moment it appears as if there’s a roadblock everywhere they turn.
Hairdresser and mum-of-three Gaynor Rowles, from Heywood, Greater Manchester, was required to pay up-front costs for her three-year-old twins. She was required to pay £188 per week, and she simply didn’t have that sort of money upfront.
In the end, she was only £9.37 a week better off in work, and she’s changed as a person, she’s really not her usual cheerful self, and it’s pretty depressing really, but there are more people out there that are much worse off than she is, and it’s fortunate that she’s got a good family, great friends and good support.
Thuto Mali reported her little boy was even suspended from the nursery. She was paying about half or three-quarters of it and his dad was supposed to pay the other, but it didn’t actually happen, so she got whacked with an £800 bill.
She was forced to turn down a job with a £32,000 salary but after paying £1,800 a month for a full-time nursery place for her son she would have been left with only £60 a month to cover bills, that effectively £2 a day, it just didn’t pay for her to work.
Nail technician Lucy Collins, from Manchester, left her position in the police because she couldn’t fit shifts around her children, aged 9 and 3, only then did she realise the difficulties of being on Universal Credit, she simply got passed from pillar to post, and she found it so complicated.
Astonishingly, MPs learned how the system was more kind to well-off parents than it is on people claiming benefits.
People on Universal Credit must present receipts and invoices on an “online journal” to ensure they get the money back, and there’s a really different burden of proof on more middle-class parents. You don’t need to present receipts, you simply need to have a registered childcare provider. The money’s in your account and you, as a parent, are able to transfer that directly.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman stated that they’re doing more than ever before to assist parents with expenses of childcare and by 2019-20 they will be spending about a record of £6 billion on childcare support.
But under Universal Credit, working parents can claim back up to 85 per cent of qualified childcare expenses, compared to the 70 per cent of expenses covered under the former legacy system, and supposedly, it’s the highest level of support ever, but if someone has accepted an offer of paid work, they’re expected to pay the costs for the month preceding starting work.
And why are people so shocked that the middle class are better off rather than those on benefits, after all, this government loathes anyone who has to rely on state support, yet they see nothing wrong in treating themselves to lavish expense accounts, or giving out bonuses to wealthy landowners, or giving the Windsor’s millions to restore their homes and afford security for their weddings, and all out of the public purse.
Universal Credit should be suspended with immediate effect, and even though it appears that the government alleges to have gotten millions into work, it’s failed to report on the fact that Universal Credit affects some more than others.
More specifically, those on lower incomes and single-parent families, largely women following a breakup are then left with the children. What doesn’t help is that some employers are not that adaptable when it comes to working hours, or when they set their rotas.
Which then means it enforces some need to additional childcare costs, which then generates more hassle and financial hardship on those workers, whilst waiting for Universal Credit to compensate them, and if they’re not sorted out and quickly could mean that they end up in debt, can’t pay their rent and end up homeless, or resort to giving up work as they believe they would be better off, but then the government can pretend they’re helping record numbers of people into work, so it’s an ongoing cycle, but with salaries hanging behind inflation it will make it more difficult for some to see any advantage in going to work.
The money is there to support people but of course, we wouldn’t want to end austerity, and besides it’s bound up in company tax fiddles and offshore banks, and the people who can prevent this, won’t because they’re profiting from those tax fiddles, and in case people don’t realise who I’m talking about, it’s MPs and I do include Labour MPs as well.
A parent can’t be in two places at the same time when they have children, but there are countless people out there in the same situation, and they certainly don’t need other people’s mocking pity, especially when the father makes a run for it and leaves the mother with the child. Someone’s husband may have passed away, which is really sad, but then they become a single parent, after all, not everything in life can be rosy.
You might have had several children, but at the time you could afford it, and then something terrible happens in your circumstances to change that, but how were you to know, not everyone has a crystal ball attached to their behind!
And it might be true that some people have children to get things, but most people aren’t like that, but those people that do deceive the system get what they want, well, that’s what people will say, but then so do people from the middle classes, and wealthy people do it, not only people on benefits, and if you earn the minimum wage and work 40 hours a week, you may as well not bother working as that will be your days pay, and you will end up in arrears, especially if it then costs for you to travel.
How does anyone come up with these outlandish prices? £1,800 to look after a child, how exactly does this service justify that amount of money? And after tax one would need to make at least £32,000 a year, so to live and pay bills everyone would need to get a minimum of £50,000 a year, and clearly, that’s not plausible.
The sad fact is that our government don’t care about the poor, and they never will, and it’s felonious how they get away with the policies they come up with.
Of course, it’s not cheap running a business and for one member of staff, it will cost approximately £1,500 a month in salaries for a 40 hour week, more if they’re over 21. On top of that, there’s the insurance, supplies, resourcing, business rates, rent, consumption costs, electric, and heating et cetera.
But yet the government want people to go back to work, and there are numerous people out there that really want to, but they simply can’t afford to because by the time they’ve paid out for childcare expenses all their money has gone, and now they can’t pay for things like insurance, rent, consumption costs, electric, heating et cetera.
YOU COULDN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP IF YOU TRIED!
But the government apparently think it’s okay for people to live on the breadline indefinitely, but if they believe that it’s such a great idea, maybe they should be living on the breadline as well, after all, if it’s good enough for the goose, it’s good enough for the gander, but then perhaps if they quit sending money overseas we might not end up like a third world country, I wonder who will send us aid when we need it?
The problem is, the family is breaking down in 21st century Britain. Childcare never used to be a problem because parents stayed together and were happier with less. The world has evolved, but not everybody has evolved in it.
Once upon a time families with children who needed to work relied on their parents or aunts and their relatives to help out with childcare, it wasn’t fail-proof, but most of the time it did work because the family unit was solid, there’s no family unit as such these days, and we’re being torn apart by radical idea’s that families can’t childcare because they need to be CRB checked and vetted because there might be a paedophile in the family unit.
As I said, it’s not all fail-proof, but it did work most of the time. It meant that families got together, they played with their cousins and sisters and brothers as a unit, and that’s when families were families and not something out of the Stepford street gang.
But sadly, there are countless people out there that think that being a single mother is a life choice, and those people are literally yesterday’s child, and no wonder there’s so much suffering in the world today, and people’s views of single-parent families is truly pretty repugnant.
Some of these people didn’t put themselves in this situation deliberately, there are many complex situations encompassing each family, and many of those parents have disabled children and people shouldn’t stick their nose in the air and judge for most of those people left school and worked hard, got married and worked hard, or went back to work following maternity leave and worked hard.
But things can turn on its head and we never know what’s around the corner, and these people don’t ask for much, just a little help and basic understanding from the government, but instead, it’s a sporadic shambles, and people shouldn’t judge what they don’t understand, and people should open their eyes because if you’ve never been in the system you wouldn’t know how difficult it is, and this is what adds to a single mother’s suffering, this mass premise that everyone on benefits is living the good life, and that’s really not true.
I mean, how can you actually plan for a relationship breakdown following ten years of marriage, and then you end up falling on difficult times because for most of the marriage you’d been a stay at home mum and homemaker, I mean, really, who’s going to employ you with no CV to talk of and no skills or the ones that you did have are now archaic and not worth the paper their written on?
It appears that having a child now is simply for the vested and not ignorant, greedy or shallow people because the government don’t want to pay for them to have children, the thing is, it’s not the common joe that’s selfish or stupid, it’s our government that are the greedy shallow ones because they seem to be able to do as they please, and not only that, they get away with whatever they want and people simply turn a blind eye like it’s something they were born to do, and yet people make excuses for this government.
Maybe our government should explain to the children whose father has died that really they shouldn’t have been born if their daddy was going to die, heaven forbid, they didn’t see that coming, but then maybe no one should have children because at some point their parents are going to die, but the Royals keep knocking out children and they’re the largest benefit receivers in Britain, especially if they’re feeding them on taxpayers money.