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Halt UC roll out

Universal credit has been a nightmare for many claimants. The Trussell Trust analysis of foodbanks shows an average increase of 52% in areas where universal credit is rolled out against 13% elsewhere. That is a clear link between UC and a rise in foodbank use.

In this newspaper in Swindon last month, a mother of four was warning about having her benefits docked, despite working two social care jobs, causing her mental health problems and anxiety.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has asked the UN to examine how tougher benefit sanctions in the UK lead to greater destitution, which means people not being able to keep warm, fed, dry and clean. It found that last year 1.5 million people fell into destitution at some point, just over one in 50 people.

In Swindon the figures for UC claimants show that 79% of council tenants on UC have rent arrears as compared to 26% for overall tenants. It must be very stressful having the fear of eviction hanging over one’s head.

Labour has been demanding that the government halt the roll out of universal credit for months but until now it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. But in the last few days, two former prime ministers have condemned the government’s failure to protect welfare claimants. A Tory backbencher also attacked his own government’s programme.

Now Esther McVey, has been forced to admit some people will be worse off under universal credit. Some families will get £200 a month less money.

Universal credit was advertised as making work pay and empowering those on low incomes but in fact two-thirds of poor children are now in families where someone is working.

There should be an immediate halt to the roll out, an urgent review into what is going wrong and financial support given to those people in crisis because of the devastation caused by universal credit.

Kate Linnegar, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate North Swindon

Not a nice club

The letter from Tony Mayer (Oct 15) describes the EU as a prosperous club of nations.

He has conveniently forgotten the economic crash of 2008 that required British banks to be bailed out to the tune of a trillion pounds from the British taxpayers.

This was followed by ten years of terrible austerity as the government struggled to balance the books.

This ten years of austerity has led to the worst housing crisis in living memory with house prices far out of the reach of the ordinary British working class and no possibility of prices ever coming down.

At the same time there has been a growing crisis in the NHS. Most National Health Trusts are deep in deficit and the whole system is close to collapse with many people wondering how the NHS is ever going to survive.

The EU is not the prosperous club of nations as described by Tony Mayer. It is quite the opposite. There are many countries in the EU in a far worse economic state than Britain. The main countries suffering are Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain.

It is membership of the European Union that has caused all the economic problems to the countries of Europe. Britain was very wise to vote to leave the EU.

Martin Costello, Eldene, Swindon

Oh, the irony

In his column (SA 12th Oct.), Justin Tomlinson tells us that The Government “will increase NHS spending by £394 Million every week”. Is it not ironic that this is in excess of the “£350 million” portrayed on the ‘Brexit bus’ – which has been so criticised and ridiculed by so many?

Malcolm Morrison, Prospect Hill, Swindon

Sort it yourselves

Why is it that millionaire actors and actresses still bombard us online with pleas for money and help?

Surely they could sort this out themselves.

There are continual ads asking for help with drought and starvation and disease. Non stop asking for funds. Why not dip into your own deep pockets and spare us the fake tears that cost you nothing?

Roger Lack, North Swindon

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