Children are starving on Universal Credit – it needs to change now but Amber Rudd’s plans aren’t good enough

CHILDREN have told me how their parents have been forced to visit foodbanks while they wait the five weeks for their first Universal Credit payment.

There are even schools with foodbanks to feed hungry children whose parents can’t afford to buy basic supplies and groceries.

 The Children's Commissioner for England Anne Longfield feels Amber Rudd isn't doing enough to support those on Universal Credit
The Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield feels Amber Rudd isn’t doing enough to support those on Universal Credit

This isn’t right. I welcome Amber Rudd’s announcement today that she is scrapping the extension of the two child benefit cap to those on Universal Credit. It is good news – but it’s only the start.

She needs to go much further and she needs to do it now. The system is supposed to support hard working parents and their children but at the moment it is just punishing them.

That’s why I back The Sun’s Make Universal Credit Work campaign. Our children deserve a system that gets rid of the delays, pays families quicker and allows parents to keep more of their hard-earned cash.

Too often I meet families being held back, having to navigate a complex and rigid social security system or at their wits end because Universal Credit is penalising them.

The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work

Universal Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment.

One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.

But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.

And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.

Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.

It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the government to:

  1. Get paid faster: The government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
  2. Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
  3. Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.

Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.

Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email to share your story.

The government needs to halt the rollout of Universal Credit to make sure that no child will be worse off.

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Amber Rudd needs to fight for more resources to help families transitioning onto Universal Credit.

Where the system isn’t working – as The Sun has shown by highlighting the heart-breaking tales of Brits drowning in thousands of pounds worth of debt while they wait for their first payment or those who have given up work due to the complicated childcare system – she should not be afraid to admit and change it.

Are you on Universal Credit? Tell us your story! Email: and join our Universal Credit Facebook group.

The Government should also use its big spending review later this year to provide more support for families who are struggling, including more help for programmes like family hubs and Sure Start, which can help prevent families from tipping into crisis in the first place.

When you see a train hurtling down the tracks towards a child, there is no excuse not to intervene.

Now is the time for the Government to admit mistakes were made, step up and solve them. Universal Credit must support those who need it, not hold them back.

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