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Jobcentre Worker Told Claimant: Leave Daughter, 8, Home Alone And Go To Work

February 27, 2019

A single mum claims Universal Credit staff told her to leave her eight-year-old daughter at home alone so she could go to work after she couldn’t afford to pay childcare fees upfront.

Alana Tait, 32, says she was forced to accept a job as a nursing assistant despite being unable to pay for crippling childcare costs for daughter Abby.

The 32-year-old had been moved onto Universal Credit in September but was aware she wouldn’t receive her first payment for five weeks.

Luckily she was offered the nursing job working 30 hours a week but it involved shift work, often starting at 7am or ending at 8pm, meaning she wouldn’t be able to pick up Abby from school.

Abby’s childcare fees were £450 a month which Alana did not have at the time.

The 32-year-old said she was initially told by a debt advisor at Falkirk Council to give her daughter a key to the house so she wouldn’t have to pay for childcare.

Alana told The Sun : “I was livid. I said ‘I’m not giving my eight-year-old a key, I don’t care how many eight-year-olds have one, this is my child and I’m not doing it.

“I just said ‘that is something that is never going to happen.’ I understand she’s getting older now, she’s not a toddler, but I don’t want her near the cooker and having to look after herself.”

The furious mum then rang up a Universal Credit adviser at Grangemouth Jobcentre to complain but was allegedly told by them “maybe it wasn’t a bad idea.”

She said: “I just never even replied to her, what do you say to that? There was absolutely no compassion.”

Alana was forced to take the job as she faced the risk of being sanctioned if she turned it down.

To pay for childcare, she had to take out a £320 advance from the DWP which she is now paying back out of her Universal Credit payments.

She was also forced to use the Me to You foodbank in Falkirk three times during that period so that she could afford the childcare costs.

Falkirk Council and the Department for Work and Pensions have since denied Alana’s claims.

Alana said: “Universal Credits are meant to be encouraging people to work, there are so many people trying to better themselves, but it does the complete opposite. There’s no stability whatsoever.”

On Universal Credit, workers lose 63p in the pound on all earnings over their work allowance.

For Alana, who says her £1,200 a month wages are not enough to survive, this means £504 a month loss

She said: “I know £1,200 sounds like a lot of money in wages, but that is for everything. My rent, childcare, bills, food, clothes. I don’t have a second persons wage coming in so that has got to cover it all.”

A spokesman for Falkirk Council said: “No adviser would ever give out that kind of advice as a young child could be at serious risk if they were left alone.

“Our advisers are well trained and offer the best advice to any client that they speak with.

“If Ms Tait still has concerns we are more than happy to discuss these directly.”

A spokesman for the DWP said: “Jobcentre staff would not advise claimants to leave a minor at home alone to seek work.

“Universal Credit provides parents with tailored support and those in work can claim back up to 85 per cent of eligible childcare costs.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 27, 2019 10:17 pm

    I actually believe the mother was
    Told by DWP universal Credit to. Leave
    Her 8yr old with a key which is
    Shocking and dangerous 😡
    We have heard of all the pip ESA
    Face to face assessments being rigged false info by assessors
    To make sure claimants fail . This seems
    Yet another in a long line of issues people are forced
    With or get sanctioned 😡 . There’s children starving
    Hungry out there other vulnerable groups. U C is not in any
    Part helping anyone it’s distroying lives and families.
    Poverty is rife people are left with no choices to survive this UC change over is a danger to life .
    It’s wants stopping NOW !

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