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Glen’s Story: Universal Credit in Rotherham

August 21, 2018

As part of our campaign to fix universal credit, End Hunger UK are highlighting stories from the front line of our benefit’s system. One of the measures we call for is better training and flexibility for Jobcentre staff. Like many people, Glen from Rotherham has suffered and hasn’t found the system supportive. You can sign our petition to fix universal credit here.

I was buying food and it was over-expensive at supermarkets, so I wanted cheaper places. I found out through friends about some free places. I live in Rotherham and a few people said they came into Sheffield, and I came here.

I am on Jobseeker’s Allowance but some people have had to move to Universal Credit and I hear that can take six to eight weeks and they’re left in the dark. It’s coming here in November. They should be able to speed that process up, they should make it a maximum of four weeks.

I get £73.10 a week and if I watch everything I’m spending and go to free places for food like this, I can just do it. If this was not here it would be much more of a struggle because bus fares have gone up, everything has gone up, but your money doesn’t go up. If they’re putting everything else up, they should put our money up.

It’s a couple of years since I had a full-time job. I’ve just had part time jobs here and there. I need a full-time job.

I think we need more places like this to open to help people. If you’re not in the city, it’s a struggle to get transport to places. Ideally we will not need these places but there are so many people going for any jobs at the moment, it’s hard to get full time work, and part time just isn’t enough.

The Jobcentre don’t give you much help. They tell you what to do to comply with the rules but not how to get work, and if you miss any job searching they’re on your back.

With Universal Credit, they need to make it so that when you make a new claim, it’s more rapid. They ought to get it down to four weeks for a new claim to be processed. People need money on a constant basis, but they say you’ll get it when it comes. People who’ve been at work two weeks ago suddenly need to use food banks.

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