Home News Single mother ‘panicking’ about Christmas gifts after Universal Credit uplift scrapped

Single mother ‘panicking’ about Christmas gifts after Universal Credit uplift scrapped


Maria Smith, 39, from Derbyshire, has seen her Universal Credit drop by £86 to £1,720 a month. The mother-of-two questioned why the Government stopped the temporary £20-a-week increase in the welfare payment two months before Christmas.

Ms Smith told Staffordshire Live: “I’m getting a bit panicky about Christmas. I don’t know how I’m going to afford it.”

The 39-year-old has been looking at using less fuel and cancelling subscriptions to make up for the shortfall.

And she is trying to cut her food bills but this is difficult as her nine-year-old daughter Sofia suffers from eosinophilic esophagitis and needs a special diet excluding dairy, wheat and gluten.

Ms Smith said: “It’s difficult to get ‘free from’ food from places like Aldi and Lidl, so I’m limited to places like Tesco and Morrisons.”

The mother-of-two, who left her job at Auto Windscreens to pursue her dream of becoming a midwife, had to stop her studies when she became pregnant with her eldest daughter Jessica who is now 15.

Her youngest daughter Sofia – who has been diagnosed with ADHD, autism and pathological demand avoidance – also needs a stable routine.

Ms Smith said: “There were problems right from the day she was born.

“She was in and out of hospital from being four months of age and she was referred to see a paediatrician from 11 months.

READ MORE: DWP claimants able to get £25 boost to payments this winter

She said: “They seemed to be helping people out with work, with the furlough scheme, and it’s nice that they were helping people who were not working or on low income.”

However she added that the Government should have waited until January to stop the extra payment.

Ms Smith said: “£86 is a lot of money. It’s a weekly shop for me.”

The £20-per-week uplift to Universal Credit, which is paid to people who are out of work or on low incomes, was a temporary measure brought in during the pandemic.

It was initially paid for a year and then extended for another six months.

However the increase in the welfare payment was stopped at the beginning of October sparking controversy.

The move has been criticised by Labour and campaigners including footballer Marcus Rashford.

Boris Johnson has previously defended the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit, arguing that the taxpayer should not subsidise low wages through the benefits system.

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