Universal Credit 7-week delay left me with just £1.80 a day to feed my family

MUM Becky Bouzguanda feeds her family-of-four pasta and frozen vegetables every day after a seven-week wait for Universal Credit means she has just £12.50 a week – or £1.80 a day – to buy food.

The 32-year-old mum-of-two from Croydon, South London, used to earn £80-a-week working eight hours as a waitress, but has been unable to return after having her second child because she can’t afford to pay for childcare upfront.

Under Universal Credit rules parents now pay for childcare upfront, then reclaim the cost from the Government.

Becky says this has effectively banned her from going back to work, as she’ll never be able to scrape together the £1,000 she’ll need to pay nursery fees for Mahdi, four, and Alfie, 18 months.

Her husband Mohammed has a job a kitchen assistant at a restaurant, but is on a zero hours contract and is currently only being offered only two shifts a week.

The family are among the millions of parents who are entitled to claim back 85 per cent of childcare costs from the Government, but Becky says she can’t afford the upfront bill to get them back into work, as highlighted by The Sun’s Make Universal Credit Work campaign.

The mum-of-two has been to food banks three times she was rolled on to the scheme.

She said: “I would rather eat dry pasta than go to a food bank but sometimes we are left with absolutely no choice.”

“I didn’t think I would have to wait seven weeks for my first universal credit payment considering I have a child and was pregnant with my second.

“I had no savings as my waitress job before and it paid enough for me to have a little bit of pocket money which I would spend on clothes for the kids or maybe some extra meat on the food shop.

“I had to rely on my mum a lot but she could only give me about £15 a week, if it wasn’t for her I don’t know what I would have done.

“I managed to spend as little as possible by buying lots of pasta, rice, bread and freezer food.”

The family get £659 a month in benefits, but Becky is left with just £12.50 for her weekly grocery shop after she has paid her rent and bills.

Becky, who stretches her budget by shopping in Asda and Lidl, blames Universal Credit for keeping them trapped in poverty.

She said: “It’s infuriating that I can’t go back to work due to childcare being so expensive as I’d love to have a job to make our lives easier.”

“I didn’t think I would have to wait seven weeks for my first universal credit payment considering I have a child and was pregnant with my second.

“I had no savings as my waitress job before and it paid enough for me to have a little bit of pocket money which I would spend on clothes for the kids or maybe some extra meat on the food shop.

“I had to rely on my mum a lot but she could only give me about £15 a week, if it wasn’t for her I don’t know what I would have done.

“I managed to spend as little as possible by buying lots of pasta, rice, bread and freezer food.”

The family get £659 a month in benefits, but Becky is left with just £12.50 for her weekly grocery shop after she has paid her rent and bills.

Becky, who stretches her budget by shopping in Asda and Lidl, blames Universal Credit for keeping them trapped in poverty.

She said: “It’s infuriating that I can’t go back to work due to childcare being so expensive as I’d love to have a job to make our lives easier.”

I can’t go back to work until my baby is two because universal credit expect you to pay two months of child care fees upfront and then it will be reimbursed.

“It is impossible for me to scrape together that as it would be well over £1,000.”

It means that Becky and her family have been forced to drastically change and simplify their diet.