Covid doubles number of ‘destitute’ Brits living on less than £100 a week

HUNDREDS of thousands of Brits have been plunged into poverty by the pandemic, new research reveals.

Nearly half a million households are now 'destitute' with less than £100 a week to live off.

An estimated 220,000 more households were in the worst poverty by the end of last year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

That's more than double the 197,400 before the pandemic hit according to research by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR).

It brings the total the total number of destitute households to 421,500 by the end of 2020.

The think tank says destitution is when to adults are living on less than £100 a week and when a single adult is living on less than £70 a week, both after housing costs.

The shock new research is due to be revealed in a Channel 4 Dispatches investigation, the Guardian reports.

How to get debt help for free

THERE are lots of groups who can help you with your problem debts.

  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060
  • StepChange – 0800 138 1111
  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Debt Advice Foundation – 0800 043 4050

You can also find information about Debt Management Plans (DMP) and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA) on the Money Advice Service website and on the Government's Gov.uk site.

Speak to one of these organisations – don't be tempted to use a claims management firm that will claim it can write-off lots of your debts in return for a large up-front fee.

The TV show called' Britain’s £400bn Covid Bill: Who Will Pay?' will air on Monday February 22 at 8pm.

NIESR also found that there were regional differences in destitution levels with the north west of England among the harder hit.

Professor Jagjit Chadha, the director of the think tank, told the newspaper: “As a result of lockdowns, levels of destitution seem to be rising across the country.

"But what’s terribly worrying is that in certain regions – in the north-west in particular – we might see some 4, 5 or 6% of the population living in destitution.

“Families who can’t work, who work in the industries most affected by Covid – like hospitality, the restaurant trade, industries requiring social proximity, which account for around a tenth of all employment in this country – they will continue suffering for some time."

He added: "It’s not just going to end when we’re all vaccinated.”

It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak looks set to extend the £20 uplift for Universal Credit along with other temporary measures introduced to help deal with the impact of covid.

He is due to make Budget speech on March 3 outlining the government's plans for taxes and spending for the year ahead.

The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work

UNIVERSAL Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment.

But there are big problems – it takes five weeks to get the first payment and this leaves some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.

And while working Brits can claim back up to 85% of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront.We’ve heard of families waiting up to six 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.

The harsh taper rate also makes it hard for Brits to get back to work.

It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. Since December 2018, we've been calling for 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 millions 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 4million families.
  3. Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85% 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 [email protected] to share your story.

Mr Sunak could also announce an extension to the furlough scheme and business rates relief until summer.

The Government's coronavirus support programmes are due to end in April, but the deadlines will be pushed back, according to reports.

Shops, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers are hoping the Prime Minister will shed some light on when they can open again when he unveils his road map on Monday.

The pandemic has left millions without jobs – 1.9 million have not worked for at least six months because they are either furloughed or unemployed.

The number of people claiming Universal Credit jumped to 5.7 million in 2020.

Millions of Brits face falling into debt over energy costs from the winter lockdown, charities have warned.

A working mum says “nonsense” Universal Credit rules have wiped out her £1,000 savings and left her thousands of pounds in debt. 

The Budget is just weeks away, and with it could come tax rises and a boost to Universal Credit – here's everything you need to know about the upcoming statement.

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