THE North Cotswold Foodbank says that it is already seeing an increase in people referred to them since Universal Credit was rolled out across the area.

Universal Credit was introduced in the Cotswold district on October 4.

A spokesman for the food bank said: "Universal Credit has already been rolled out in the North Cotswolds for new claimants - single people and couples - and we have similarly seen an increase in people from these groups being referred to the Foodbank.

"We expect to see an increase in families when Universal Credit is rolled out for them between now and the end of the year.

"We are also seeing an increase in people with long-term illnesses, many of whom receive no sick pay from their jobs and have to wait for sickness and benefit payments from the state.

"With winter coming, meaning cold weather and higher energy bills, particularly for customers on pre-payment meters, the traditional spike in demand is likely to be more pronounced."

"The Trussell Trust is asking policy-makers to urgently take action on five areas, including the six-week wait for the first payment, which must be cut to make sure people aren’t left without money and in need of a foodbank, and the advance loan repayment, which must provide better availability of advance loans which are affordable to repay and do not throw people back into crisis."

Universal Credit will replace individual benefits and its goal is to simplify a complicated system and to ensure that moving into work pays.

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