Woman on Universal Credit cleans vomit in pub loos but ‘can’t afford a haircut’

A woman struggling on Universal Credit has been forced to take a job cleaning pub toilets – but said she can't even afford a haircut.

Sue, 61, was forced onto the monthly benefit after being made redundant from her job as a nursery cleaner.

Desperate to move off Universal Credit, Sue has taken three jobs in order to boost her weekly working hours to 35 a week.

She is now featuring in a new three-part BBC2 series, Universal Credit: Inside the Welfare State.

It focuses on claimants in Liverpool's Toxteth jobcentre, where “work coaches” are thinly-stretched following the closure of two jobcentres and their subsequent merger with Toxteth – where we see a long queue of people when its doors open for business.

Sue needs to be looking to get 35 hours work a week and to regularly attend the job centre, or face having her benefits reduced.


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She has been unemployed before, but the new system of Universal Credit has made her feel anxious, reports the Liverpool Echo.

“Now it’s all been put into one (system of benefit payments), you just don’t know where you are at. It’s so hard; there are so many things you’ve got to do, it’s just constant pressure.”

Viewers will initially see her take a 10-hour a week cleaning job at a pub in Liverpool. It pays the national minimum wage rate of £8.20 an hour – and Sue tells us: “If I can get 25 hours more, it’s bye-bye jobcentre!”


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But she later describes the job as “horrible” – and says: “There are some dirty people out there. I thought it was men at first, but women are just as bad.”

She describes seeing vomit on the toilet floor and having to go into the next toilet to vomit herself.

Back at the jobcentre, staff member Alison later tells an interviewer: “There are a lot of people out there who clean toilets who are quite happy about it.”

Sue later finds a second cleaning job which means she is no longer entitled to Universal Credit – but even with two jobs she is earning £140 less a month than from the job she lost.

Finally, we hear she has landed a third job, taking her to 35 hours. Regarding no longer being on Universal Credit, she says: “That’s the best bit!”

Universal Credit: Inside The Welfare State airs Tuesday, 10th February at 9pm

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