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Butcher offers free Christmas dinners to people struggling with Universal Credit

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A West Yorkshire butcher is offering free Christmas dinners to people struggling with delays to Universal Credit payments.

David Jones, who runs a butcher’s shop in Dewsbury, said claimants in the local area who won’t receive their payments before Christmas will get a hamper with a turkey crown, pigs in blankets and a pork pie.

“It’s been a difficult period because we have got some people that are desperate,” he told Sky News.

“I could just see this was causing people real hardship.

“When I realised there could be a delay at Christmas, I asked myself, how will these families eat?”

Mr Jones said he had listened to customers tell him about late Universal Credit payments and sanctions for being a few minutes late to meetings.

He added that he regularly collects for food banks and believes austerity is to blame for growing homelessness and poverty in his area.

“With Universal Credit coming in on a larger scale, we are going to see more of this,” Mr Jones said.



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Homeless without universal credit

“Poverty should be a worry for everybody.”

Mr Jones initially posted his offer to help on Twitter and Facebook.

“Anyone local to me who has found themselves moved over onto universal credit and will not receive any money until after Xmas please dm me,” he tweeted.

“I can’t help with much but I can put a xmas dinner on you’re table.”

The tweet received 21,000 likes and was retweeted nearly 7,000 times, with responses from people affected by late payments still coming in.

Mr Jones said the response “has been great”.



Bayard Tarpley worked in a Universal Credit call centre for two years




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Universal Credit agents encouraged to get claimants off phone

“It’s a decent hardworking community area, people still do pull together,” he said.

“People have offered donations. We’ve had people sending cards through the post.”

Universal Credit, which bundles a range of different benefits payments into one monthly sum, is currently being rolled out across the country.

The government says the scheme will result in people getting work quickly.

More from Universal Credit

But claimants have faced five week delays in receiving their first payments, administrative problems and average losses of £48 a week for millions of families.

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