Universal Credit imposing punitive debt repayment

scottish unemployed workers' network

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Report from Dundee

When we met John at our stall outside Dundee buroo yesterday he was brimming with frustration. He had recently started a six week job, and had not un-naturally expected his finances to get a bit easier. But John is on Universal Credit. This is reduced by 65p for every pound he earns – which is better than if he were on JSA, though still an absurd effective tax rate – however that was only the beginning of his problems. Over the years John had built up quite a number of debts, as people surviving on precarious employment often do: things like rent and council tax arrears. The expectation has been that people repay these debts in small manageable increments. But Universal Credit seems to be changing all that. The rules are – of course – complicated, and vary with the type of debt, but people with multiple…

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