Hundreds of Welwyn Hatfield residents on Universal Credit despite being employed

PUBLISHED: 15:37 22 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:37 22 August 2018

Hundreds of residents in Welwyn Hatfield are on Universal Credit despite being employed, according to DWP statistics. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

Hundreds of residents in Welwyn Hatfield are on Universal Credit despite being employed, according to DWP statistics. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

PA

Hundreds of workers in Welwyn Hatfield are claiming Universal Credit as their low wages are not enough to live on.

According to Department for Work and Pensions figures, there were 816 employed claimants in the borough on Universal Credit in July 2018 – about 38 per cent of the total.

Overall, there were 2,129 Welwyn Hatfield residents on the benefit, 204 more than in the previous month.

Universal Credit is slowly being rolled out nationwide by the government and replaces six legacy benefits and merges them into one payment.

Pritie Billimoria, from Turn2us, a charity which helps people who are struggling financially, said it was “shocking” that such a high number of workers earn so little that they are forced to rely on benefits.

“Every day we hear from working people who are living hand to mouth and facing impossible decisions,” she added.

Katie Schmuecker, head of policy for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an independent social policy charity, said: “Low pay and high costs for housing and other essentials mean that for many, work is not providing enough to live on and the social security system needs to provide an anchor against being swept into poverty.”

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