No cash for 5 weeks: how could you manage?

We took to the streets to find out what you think about the government’s plans to make you wait at least five weeks to get any financial support if you lose your job, under the Universal Credit scheme…


“We all need to keep a roof over our heads while looking for work…” Read Rob’s opinion”As a job seeker I get around £70 a week to cover my basic needs. Our benefits system is funded by our National Insurance contributions. We are not scroungers. We have plenty to offer. We simply want to keep a roof over our heads while we look for meaningful work.”


“It’s wrong to make things even more difficult for people…” Read Maria’s opinion“Many people barely get a living wage these days, and many don’t have savings to fall back on. They have just been getting by week by week, even while working full-time. What should they do when they lose their job? It’s mad to make people wait weeks for basic support when they need confidence and peace of mind to go out and find a new job.”


“You need money to help you find a job…”
Read Amine’s opinion“Five weeks without any money coming in is just a joke. Living costs are so high, particularly in London where a one-day travelcard costs more than the hourly rate of the minimum wage. With no money, how are we supposed to travel to job interviews?”


“Welfare is supposed to help you start again…”
Read Sarah’s opinion“I’m a single parent, with three children and a mortgage to pay for. I teach drama to children on a freelance basis which I have to fit around childcare. The idea of having to go without any support for five weeks is terrifying. I have some savings but that’s my emergency money for if the boiler or washing machine breaks down. If I got ill and had to get the boiler repaired or buy new shoes for the kids, I’d quickly get into debt. Welfare is supposed to be a base to help you start again when you fall on hard times – that’s why we pay into it.”


“It’s a blunt tool that will cause more casualties…” Read Angela’s opinion”Making people wait so long will just lead to more hardship as many people don’t have a spare 6 weeks’ worth of pay. I have a job but the idea of having to cover 2 months of bills without any help, if I wasn’t able to work, makes me shudder. It would place my husband and I, as well as our kids, under an unimaginable amount of stress and that’s really scary.”


“5-6 weeks without income would wipe out any savings…” Read Rebecca’s opinion“My family relies on my income as I work while my husband looks after the kids. Only having one income for a family of 4 makes it tight, but we save as much as possible. Five to six weeks without any income would wipe out any savings we do have, so if the car broke down, the house needed a major repair or the washing machine blew up, we wouldn’t have the money to cover this. It is a worry that we might not be able to pay for these things.”


“They’re taking away support people have already paid for…” Read Anna’s opinion”It’s not fair on people who’ve paid into the system and then don’t get the help they deserve. Losing a job is really stressful anyway and this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Going for 5 weeks without any money will push some people into debt which will cause more stress and may lead to mental health problems, making it even harder to recover and get back to work.””


“Why punish people when they’re desperate?…” Read Mark’s opinion“I’ve worked ever since I first had a paper round and I’ve paid all my taxes but I have also been made redundant twice and suffered the humiliation of going cap in hand to the dole office. The first time it happened I had the panic of my rent needing paying and, of course, fell behind. To make people who are in desperate need wait even longer for what is in effect a pittance, but often essential, is just another example of the ruthless dismissal of the vulnerable by the ruling classes.”

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