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21 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Fifth of UK adults will apply for benefits because of coronavirus, says Citizens Advice

By Samuel Horti

A fifth of UK adults will apply for benefits as a result of the coronavirus crisis, according to charity network Citizens Advice. 

The figure rises to nearly 70 per cent for people on zero-hours contract, according to the group’s survey of more than 2,000 people.

Out of those that expect to apply for universal credit, nearly one in six people say they will have to borrow money from friends or family while they wait to receive their payments, the survey found. 

The charity, which said it has had nearly 2.5 million views on its advice pages for employment and benefits issues since the lockdown began, said the benefit claims process remains problematic for many people, such as those without a bank account or internet connection. The closure of libraries and job centres has worsened matters, it said. 

Chief executive Dame Gillian Guy said: “The government has worked hard to shore up protections for workers and process soaring claims for universal credit. But we know that some people are still slipping through the safety net, often with desperate consequences.

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“Plugging the remaining gaps in the employment support schemes could protect more jobs. And for those needing support from the benefits system, turning advance payments into a grant would really ease the burden.”