Friday 08 February 2019
Our report into people on Universal Credit and how they manage money has been covered by national print and online media. The report found that about one in two of the people we help struggle to pay rent or mortgage payments during the initial five-week wait.
Universal Credit claimants struggling to pay the rent
The Times (subscription required), 06/02/2019, p22, Greg Hurst
Our report into how Universal Credit claimants are managing their money was a page lead in the Times, which included an interview with our case study, David.
The story reported that half of the people we help with Universal Credit problems struggle to keep up with their rent and mortgage payments.
Gillian Guy, whose opinion piece – Brexit seems farcical when you can’t pay your bills – was published online and included in the Times’s Red Box email newsletter, said: “Despite some improvements, the wait for an initial payment still leaves half of the people we help unable to pay for essentials.
“With 1.6 million more people due to move on to universal credit this year, and seven million receiving it by the time it’s fully rolled out, it’s essential the government gets it right — and fast.”
David had to give up his job in the construction industry following a stroke. He applied for Universal Credit in November and has still not received his first payment, forcing him to borrow from family to pay for heating.
His mortgage payments have been frozen, but he worries he’ll have to sell his flat. “It is putting me under stress, not knowing whether or not I will be evicted,” he said.
Universal Credit claimants ‘don’t have enough to live’
i News, 06/02/2019, p13, Elizabeth Anderson
The reporter was also a page lead in the i newspaper, which revealed that we have helped 190,000 Universal Credit claimants since the new benefit was rolled out.
“Half the people we help with universal credit are still struggling to keep a roof over their heads while they wait for their first payment,” Gillian Guy said.
“Changes to the waiting period for first payment have improved things for many people, but our evidence shows they don’t go far enough. Universal Credit must continue to be reformed so it works for all claimants and leaves people with enough money to live on.”
The story was also covered in the Guardian, the Independent, the Mirror, the Huffington Post and the Sun.
Energy bills set to rise by more than £100 for 15 million households
The Guardian, 07/02/2019, p14, Adam Vaughan
Our response to Ofgem’s announcement that the energy price cap is set to rise by £117 was featured in an article by the Guardian.
The energy regulator said the rise was down to the increase in the cost of wholesale energy.
“As unwelcome as this news is, it’s likely that prices would be higher still without the cap and there are steps people can take to ease the strain on their bills,” Gillian Guy said.
15m energy bills will rise after Ofgem ups price cap
The Metro, 07/02/2019, p20, Holly Williams
The story was also covered in the online and print editions of the Metro, which too featured our response.
The cap announcement revealed the rise in bills for people on prepayment meters will go up by £106.
Gillian Guy agreed prices “would be higher still without the cap” but said there were “big savings to be made by switching supplier or tariff”.
This story was also featured in The Times, The Sun, The Telegraph and The Independent.
How changing your mobile phone deal right now could save you £63 a year
TechRadar, 01/02/2019, Luke Edwards
Our research into the cost of unused data in sim-only mobile phone customers was covered by TechRadar.
We found that sim-only users waste an average of 2GB every month with their plan, affecting around 12 million consumers in the UK.
Gillian Guy said: “While we wait for industry to improve support for customers, individuals can take action too. Anyone looking to save money should check their data usage and see if they can switch to a cheaper deal that matches what they use.”
In other news
Ministers are “in denial” over social care funding.
Hotel booking sites have pledged to end misleading sales.
Parcel delivery firm Hermes has agreed to offer couriers paid holiday and guaranteed wage rates.