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CAP report warns millions of benefit claimants could find themselves on a 'sinking ship'

by Chantalle Edmunds

National debt help charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has released a new report looking at the financial and mental well-being of those the charity is supporting in the UK.

The 'Shipshape or Sinking Ship?' report has found that just under half of CAP clients say they have no money left at the end of the month with 42 percent concerned that the money they've got saved won't last.

Rachel Gregory is social policy manager for CAP. She told Premier benefit claimants are finding it difficult to 'stay afloat.'

"What we're really worried about is that at the end of September, Universal Credit and tax credit is due to be cut by 20 pounds a week. And that is going to have such a significant impact, because we can already see how difficult people are finding it to stay afloat. And without that essential, extra support, people are really going to be in severe difficulty."

CAP is calling on the government to remove the plan that would cut Universal Credit and tax credit and also to remember those on legacy benefits "that's about 16 per cent of the people we help at Christians against poverty," Gregory said.

"Many of them are carers and people with disabilities or health conditions, that means that they can't work. And we know that group in particular are just struggling to make ends meet. And one example of that is that one of the people we helped, called Richard, who has been waiting for surgery for a tumour for six months, that's been delayed because of the covid 19 pandemic. And the people just find themselves in such difficult situations and are not receiving that support that they need, and not receiving the right Lifeline that Social Security is meant to be," she added.

Nine hundred people were questioned by CAP for the report using two academic indexes. One was measuring financial well-being and one measuring mental well-being. Participants scored their level of well-being in different indexes. 

"It allowed us to then explore what some of the factors are that really harm and limit people's financial well-being. And we looked at income and age and the type of debt solution people were progressing towards but found really the biggest impact was people's income. And also, those subjected to social security policies, such as the benefit cap, for example, their well-being is significantly lower than those not living on Social Security payments.

"Because of the pandemic, we know that there are now six million people who are relying on Universal Credit, and that's doubled since March 2020," Gregory added.

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