The Trussell Trust report: Left Behind – Is Universal Credit Truly Universal?

‘Foodbanks have seen a 30% increase in food parcels given in areas of Universal Credit roll-out.’

This is according to the April 2018 report (pdf) by The Trussell Trust on the Universal Credit and the use of foodbanks.

Trussell Trust spoke to 284 individuals across the UK receiving or waiting for Universal Credit payments, who have found themselves in need of a foodbank.

The report argues that increased foodbank use is an indication of the severe impacts of a deficient Universal Credit system which has been administered poorly.

The report finds:

  • The wait for a first payment had severe and immediate consequences: 70% of respondents found themselves in debt, 57% experienced issues with their mental or physical health, and 56% experienced housing issues.
  • There was little statutory support available during this wait. 63% were offered no help, while the most likely form of help offered was a foodbank voucher. Advance payments were helpful for some, whilst a half who provided detail said they were unhelpful, too little, or unaffordable to repay.
  • Only 8% said their full Universal Credit award covered their cost of living. This was even less for disabled people or people with ill-health, of whom 5% said the award covered their cost of living.

Emma Revie, The Trussel Trust Chief Executive says:

We need to move towards a UK where no one needs a foodbank’s help, not a country where charity provision is the only defence from utter destitution.

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