Summer holidays: debt and misery


Guardian, 03 July 2019

ENGLAND: Families on universal credit are being plunged into debt because of increased childcare and food costs during school holidays.

Parents told a parliamentary hearing on holiday hunger about struggling families where parents have to stop working during the school holidays or pay crippling additional childcare costs up front.

Under universal credit, families need to pay the cost of childcare in advance, then claim the cost back via the benefit system, meaning delays of several weeks until they receive a refund.

Nicola Salvato, a single parent in receipt of universal credit, told the MPs: “I’m working, so my child is being looked after during the summer holidays. I’ve had to reduce my working hours to manage the upfront costs for childcare. But I’ve still got to come up with, for August, about £750 on top of my rent, food, travel costs and all of that.”

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