An investigation by a parliamentary committee has found that Universal Credit is allowing abusers to take control of family finances.
The new Universal Credit system, set up by the Conservative government pays welfare to one member in the household, instead of each member having an independent income. It was initially designed to give more responsibility to those receiving benefits.
This allows abusers to take control of finances and makes domestic abuse victims especially vulnerable to being controlled financially.
RT Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee said:
“This is not the 1950s. Men and women work independently, pay taxes as individuals, and should each have an independent income. Not only does UC’s single household payment bear no relation to the world of work, it is out of step with modern life and turns back the clock on decades of hard won equality for women. The Government must acknowledge the increased risk of harm to claimants living with domestic abuse it creates by breaching that basic principle, and take the necessary steps to reduce it.”
One victim told Sky News that she was unable to buy herself sanitary products due to the Universal Credit system and her abuser.
“Even… things like sanitary towels or things like food, he would buy. He bought himself different food from me and the kids.
“So he’d buy himself a steak or whatever and then just a small tray of mince for us that I’d have to cut up into pieces and then freeze as much as I could.
“And we survived on eggs because that’s just what he brought in. So you have no control over your life. It’s just horrendous.”
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Words by Jasmin Woodward