The desperate child made a heartbreaking phone call to a charity in the Torbay area of Devon after her single-parent dad lost his job
A NINE-year-old girl begged for work so she could feed her family after delayed Universal Credit payments left her jobless dad skint, according to reports.
The pleading child phoned a charity saying that her mum had died and her father had recently lost his job as a lorry driver in the Torbay area of Devon.
And because of a five-week delay in the dad’s first Universal Credit payment, the family was left with barely any food in the house.
Ellie Waugh, who took the heartbreaking call yesterday, said the youngster was “really worried because her family didn’t have any money”.
She offered to do “any” job to help buy food and get her two younger siblings Christmas presents.
The little girl added: “I don’t want to let them down.”
Ellie said: “I can’t tell you how horrendous it was hearing a child beg for work in this day and age.
“She told me, ‘I don’t mind cleaning floors, making beds. My daddy has always worked and he says you have to work to get things. I’ll do anything I can so I can buy my brother and sister a Christmas present. I can cook and I don’t mind working on a Saturday and Sunday or after school.’ After the call I just cried. Hearing that is like we’ve gone back to Victorian times.”
The phone call exposed the harsh reality of life on the hated Universal Credit, which the stubborn Tories refuse to axe despite the obvious hardship it is causing.
Five weeks ago, the girl’s HGV driver dad was made redundant but is still waiting for his first benefit payment to clear.
He was raising the three children alone in the Torbay area of Devon after his wife died four years ago. The girl contact Humanity Torbay, which provides food banks and support for the vulnerable.
CEO Ellie reassured the brave child she would not have to work. She called her dad, who wants to remain nameless, and promised food and support.
Ellie said: “He cried because he was embarrassed but because he is proud of her. Proud that she loved her brother and sister so much she wanted to help them. He said they were literally down to their last few bits in the freezer.”
Ellie and her volunteers visited the family with food parcels last night.
Offers of support also flooded in, with strangers donating Christmas turkeys and presents.
The dad said: “I’m very proud of my daughter and horrified I’ve been reduced to this. It’s humbling that people want to help us.”
Ellie has invited Theresa May and work and pensions secretary Esther McVey to visit her charity, but is yet to receive a response.
She said: “I want them to see the reality of what Universal Credit is doing, to see the look of ‘no hope’ in people’s eyes when they come asking for food.”
Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine said: “It is heartbreaking that a young girl was so worried about her family she begged a charity for work. Tory ministers cannot put their hands over their ears and pretend they can’t hear her.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “We will look into this case urgently. No one has to wait for support if they need it before their first Universal Credit payment. Advances have increased to up to 100% and we are paying housing benefit for an additional 2 weeks when people move onto Universal Credit.
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