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Universal Credit in Great Yarmouth: ‘We’re being used as guinea pigs’

PUBLISHED: 17:51 01 December 2016 | UPDATED: 17:51 01 December 2016

Jackie Esposito. 
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Jackie Esposito. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

©archant2016

Landlord Jackie Esposito is now owed £13,000 in rent arrears from tenants waiting to get universal credit.

The 43-year-old has 18 properties in Great Yarmouth and said the problems with the system were around its implementation rather than the idea behind it.

“I am pro universal credit,” she said. “I think it is a very good policy if it is working.

“What is frustrating are the delays and problems that come from it. It is causing hardship for people.

“I’m not upset with the council or people at the job centre or my tenants.

“We are being used as guinea pigs in this town.

“It’s had a financial and personal impact.

“You spend a lot of time completing forms for tenants.”

She said the process of claiming for rent had become far more complex under the new system compared to the old system where housing benefit was administered by the council.

She also said she had tenants with dementia struggling to fill out forms.

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