Lochside Garage

Universal Credit boss branded as ‘insulting’

A STATEMENT by the man in charge of Universal Credit in the North saying working people didn’t get a pay increase when they had more children so those on benefits shouldn’t expect one has been branded “insulting” and “totally unacceptable.” 
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council had previously written to the Department of Communities regarding its concerns over the “two child policy” element of the new benefits system, which means families will only receive financial support for their first two children, 
In a letter of response to the Council, David Sales, director of Universal Credit, said that while children born prior to April 6th, 2017 would be now exempt from the new rules, families with children born after that date will still only receive support for the first two children unless there is an exception. Exceptions will be allowed include in cases of multiple births or rape. 
“The Two Child policy ensures that parents in receipt of benefits face the same financial choices when deciding to grow their family as those supporting themselves solely through work,” he said. “Parents who support themselves solely through work would not usually see their wages increase simply because of the addition of a new child to their family.” 
Mr Sale’s response was not well received at the February meeting of the Council. 
Cllr Josephine Deehan, who said the two child policy was putting an artificial size limit on families, said the letter was “totally unacceptable”, “hard hearted” and “quite harsh.” 
“It’s disgrace for him to justify by saying families who work don’t expect an increase in salary if they’ve more than two children,” she said. “Most people on benefits want to work.” 
Stating it was “totally unacceptable” asking people to justify why they are having a third child, Cllr Deehan proposed the Council write back to the Home Office again. The proposal was agreed by the Council. 
Cllr Debbie Coyle said “the person who wrote that fails to understand most universal claimants are working on tax credits.” 
“It’s very, very judgmental and insulting,” she said. 
It was agreed by the councillors to write back to Mr Sales expressing the Council’s concern.

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