More than 12,600 local people need benefits despite having a job

Four in ten local people on Universal Credit already have a job
By Victoria Munro

Credit: Glyn Roberts
Credit: Glyn Roberts

Four out of every ten Waltham Forest residents who rely on Universal Credit need it despite already having a job, government figures reveal.

There are currently 31,646 people claiming UC in the borough, of which more than 12,600 have jobs.

London Assembly member Sem Moema, who represents Waltham Forest, Hackney and Islington, said it shows there is an “endemic issue of low pay” in London.

The latest statistics show that, at the start of this year, UK unemployment fell to its lowest point in half a century, while wages have decreased in real terms due to a surge in inflation.

Ms Moema is now joining the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to encourage more companies and businesses to offer the London Living Wage, currently £11.05 an hour. 

The National Living Wage, set by the government, is currently £9.50, but is only available to workers who are 23 years old and over. 

Sem Moema AM said: “The endemic issue of low pay is underpinning the cost of living crisis, so  the need for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work has never been so urgent. 

“Ministers have insisted that the scrapping of the £20 Universal Credit uplift is key to getting more people into work. But the Government’s own figures have consistently shown that a large proportion of local people claiming Universal Credit are already in jobs. 

“My constituents have been crying out for some solutions to the financial pressures they face and it has been welcome to see the Government finally U-turn and provide some desperately-needed support. 

“But, in the time it has taken for them to act, tens of thousands of Londoners could have been saved from being pushed into poverty. 

“It’s now time that the Government matched the Minimum and National Living Wages, which they set, with the higher rates of the Real and London Living Wages.”