I recently came across the story of a mother-of-two who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy while applying for Universal Credit.
There was an eight-week gap between her giving up full-time work and receiving her first payment.
She said: “The process of applying for Universal Credit, with the worry of not being able to feed my kids and my life hanging in the balance, was terrifying.”
Heather Williams, the manager of the Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre in Dundee, cited the “the hoops and barriers” related to the application process for Universal Credit as the reason for some women having to take such extreme measures.
Earlier this year, it was also announced that the Work and Pensions Select Committee would be launching a consultation into “survival sex” after the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty, Philip Alston, reported meeting people who had sold sex for money or shelter.
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The inquiry will be run in tandem with the committee’s ongoing investigation into the consequences of Universal Credit.
When benefit payments do not maintain pace with the increasing cost of living, we have exchanged social security for social slavery.