Universal Credit and Single Parent Families

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Universal Credit and Single Parent Families

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham has been contacted by Changing Realities, a project launched by University of York and Child Poverty Action Group regarding a recent report on Single Parents, Universal Credit and Mental Health. The research found that 32% of Single Parents who are on universal credit suffer with some form of mental health problem compared to 28% for all adults who are on UC. Jon fully supports the campaign to raise awareness of the impact Universal Credit has on single parent families.

Changing Realities, the collaborative project which produced the research, has put forward a five-point plan for change:

  • Remove conditionality from the universal credit system for parents, which would ease the additional challenges in terms of parenting, childcare and employment restrictions as well as UC sanctions.
  • Strengthen the adequacy of the social security system by removing the five weeks wait for the first UC payment, as well as the two-child benefit cap.
  • Supporting mental health, similar to the current government ‘breathing space’ it would make UC payments more flexible. Additionally training frontline workers in trauma- informed communication.
  • Communicate better and more compassionately creating a right to reply on UC journals in which workers must respond to issues within a set period of time.
  • Make universal credit more accessible and efficient by speeding up the application process and improving the efficiency of one-off payments.

Families should not suffer with anxiety or depression due to their finances. Jon supports the five-point plan put forward and will lobby the government to implement change within the universal credit system. The goal is to aid single parent families going through the process of applying for universal credit, or who need support from workers.

To read the full report visit: Where’s the Credit? - Single Parents, Universal Credit and Mental Health - Changing Realities