Grim reality of life in Harlow on Universal Credit revealed

News / Wed 14th Mar 2018 at 05:30pm

Scrutiny Committee

THE GRIM reality of life in Harlow on Universal Credit (UC) was revealed at a Harlow Council committee meeting on Tuesday night.

The Scrutiny Committee chaired by councillor Bob Davis heard representations from Citizens Advice Burea, Harlow Advive Centre as well as its own Housing officers on problems UC had caused.

Sue Jones from Harlow Advice Centre (HAC) detailed the problems with arrears and timing of payments.

“Since the introduction of UC, we have seen a 43% increase in foodbank referrals.

The three strong team from Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) told the committtee that their footfall had increased to over 8,000 people per year.

They described how distressed people were becoming for a range of issues from payment, debt to keeping on top of journals.

Gary Knott from Harlow Foodbank told the committee that there had a 31% increase in demand since UC had been rolled out.

In a response to a question from Labour councillor, Danny Purton, Sue Jones detailed that they had a lot of inquiries from residents of Terminus House, Redstone House and Riverway.

A CAB rep said: “When people come in with flat numbers such as 183 from Riverway, you realise there is a vast number of people living in these converted office blocks.

“They have been sent here by London boroughs, Cambridge Council to name just two.

“There children still go to schools in London, they are living in an industrial estate and are clearly very stressed”.

The question of rent arrears came up. By January 2018, 486 council tenants had rent arrears. This amounted to £276,600.

Strangely enough, Harlow Council had receieved £305,579 for discretionary awards of housing payments but only £60,000 had been awarded.

The committee concluded by committing to an action plan and returning to disucss the issues in six months time.

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6 Comments for Grim reality of life in Harlow on Universal Credit revealed:

2018-03-14 17:45:42

Universal Discredit more like to match the world's opinion of the heartless government that rammed the policy through. Still, if you can afford 25k a plate for one of their fundraisers you're alright, Jack. Maybe I'm being too harsh. If you're not ill, poor, a child in a state school, a minority, or disabled you'll be okay. Same old story. Same old Tories.

2018-03-15 06:54:04

'arlow council appear to be somewhat tardy in handing out payments due. Same old incompetent labour council. VOTE LABOUR at your PERIL.

m ingall
2018-03-15 11:17:22

Like so many of this Tory government's policies, UC is a disaster. Tax cuts for the very wealthiest and corporations (that's if they pay tax at all) are subsidised by pay rises that don't keep up with inflation and cuts to benefits. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. And the Tories can't even claim incompetence for this. they were warned again and again of the horrendous impact of UC, but chose to ignore the advice. People are suffering and it's a deliberately inflicted suffering.

2018-03-15 15:57:44

Steady on , m i. Some payments were delayed, no doubt about that. But, many times I walked past the CAB, lots of Mum's were queuing outside, with coffees in hand, the latest mobile phones, latest style make up and clothing. If I was cynical, would I say that, the money that they had was spent on other things rather than necessities ? A point of view shared by many people that I know.

2018-03-15 16:27:01

Why are people from outside being given accommodation when we have a waiting list (and homeless people) here in Harlow? Should our own not be given priority as soon as the paint is dry? I did not even know Terminus House had been converted - and where is Riverway?

2018-03-15 17:14:22

"Grim reality" sums it up. The global economy has come. This means global parity. The poor in western countries are still in the top 10% on the planet. As the global wealth is redistributed the rich countries get poorer and the poor in thos countries will get poorer still. But the real poor in the rest of the world will get richer. Welcome to the revolution!! personally I think housing people on industrial estates is beyond the pale,but this is the world we ALL created

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