A WHOPPING 950,000 people in the UK have applied for Universal Credit since the UK Government imposed restrictions on movement and travel two weeks ago.

The figure is a dramatic increase from the 50,000 applications for the benefit the Government usually receives each week.

“With such a huge increase in claims there are pressures on our services, but the system is standing up well to these and our dedicated staff are working flat out to get people the support they need,” a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Salvation Army said advance payments for Universal Credit claimants must be given as grants, not loans, to prevent a "coronavirus debt crisis".

Claimants wait five weeks for a first payment after applying for the benefit but can take out an advance loan to help during this time.
But the Salvation Army said this could plunge thousands of citizens into debt, calling it a "point of critical failure that the Government must address".

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has seen a surge in benefits claims, with almost 950,000 new claims since March 16.

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