When life throws a curveball, whether that be a broken boiler, a sick child or losing a shift at work, it knocks us back and there isn’t a cushion to break our fall.
Furlough and self-employed income support, along with a temporary increase to benefits, eased the pain for some during the pandemic, but those measures were withdrawn and too many are struggling:
Many who have lost jobs or income are reliant on our broken social security system. The number of people claiming universal credit has more than doubled in the last year, to almost six million in January 2021. Since the temporary £20 uplift was removed in September 2021, income support is lower than at any time since the creation of the welfare state in 1948.
If a person loses their job in the UK, on average they receive one third of their income in benefits, compared with 59% in France and 83% in Denmark.
But even having a job may not protect you. In modern Britain, many children live in poverty even though their parents work. And not everyone can work, due to other responsibilities or circumstances like ill health.
Instead of providing the resources we need and funding the services we depend on, certain politicians have designed a system that is almost impossible to navigate and slow to respond, leaving people waiting five weeks for support when they need it that day.
We need a plan that ensures that everyone – no matter who and no matter where they are from – has enough to live on, whether they are in or out of work.
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Together we can ensure everyone has enough to afford life's essentials.