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'I know first hand just how difficult it can be to scrape by on Universal Credit'
5 October 2021, 22:34
This Conservative youth activist and political commentator shares her experience of using universal credit – while she was homeless, working three jobs and studying for her A-levels.
In a conversation related to the government's plan to put an end to the Universal Credit uplift, Conservative youth activist and political commentator Samantha Smith shared her experience of using Universal Credit.
"I have experience on the front line, I suppose."
"When I was 16, 17 I was homeless. I was claiming universal credit to keep a roof over my head while working three jobs to support myself and keep food on the table and study for my A-levels".
"I know first hand just how difficult it can be to scrape by on Universal Credit" she told Iain Dale.
"I worked 35 hours one week and was looking through my pay stubs and I earned 130 pounds for those 35 hours" she went on, telling the Cross Question panel that Universal Credit helped her get by.
She then argued that any changes to the benefits system should come with a change to how the government supports those in need:
"It's about making employment more palatable and more realistic, for people – especially for younger people – who are inexperienced, who are unskilled and through introducing alternative schemes rather than teaching people to rely on handouts from the government, teaching them the power of perseverance, the power of support and the power of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and making a living for yourself"."
Ms Smith then argued that societal attitudes towards the benefits system are fundamentally flawed.
"From my experience I was often told 'why do you work? It would have been much easier and you'd probably have earned more if you weren't working and were just claiming universal credit."