At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, those looking at what would happen to them if they got sick or lost their job will have been shocked at just little support now exists for those who fall on hard times.
While furloughing has helped most to avoid relying on those systems for the last few months, far too many families have had no other option. Over 5,000 people are now dependant upon Universal Credit to survive in Crawley, a big change for a town of typically close to full employment. Of course, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. With the thousands of job losses already announced set to grow sharply with the end of the furloughing scheme.
If the system is left as it is thousands of people will be left struggling to survive in one of the most expensive parts of England for the years it will take for the local economy to recover. People made unemployed through no fault of their own should not face poverty. At minimum the system shouldn’t take five weeks for people to get their first payment, the temporary £20 per week extra payment should be maintained, and benefit sanctions need to end. Be in no doubt even then people will struggle, but it will help many to avoid the destitution the current system is creating.