A MUM has spoken out about her struggles living on Universal Credit.

The Whitehawk resident, who wished to remain anonymous, was forced to apply for benefits after leaving a relationship, leaving her and her son to stick it out by themselves.

Now she must use Whitehawk Foodbank to keep herself fed, as she said Universal Credit “isn’t enough to live on”.

“I had some relationship trouble that meant I had to split with my partner, so I was left with no source of income all by myself,” she said.

“My last job was 20 years ago, and though I want to work and I’m trying to work, I just can’t get hired.

“It’s looking for someone who will give you that chance.”

Universal Credit was introduced by the Government last year to supposedly simplify the benefits system, combining all benefits into one monthly payment tailor-made to the claimant’s needs.

But the anonymous mum said the payment is not enough and is starting to affect her mental health.

She said: “Universal Credit is definitely pushing more and more families towards foodbanks, it’s not enough to live on.

“I keep being told that we will get better but it’s only getting worse.

“I hear people like us being referenced as being “below the poverty line” but they have no ideas what this means. They have no experience of it.

“I remember at Christmas last year when I realised I couldn’t buy my son anything as a present, not even a tiny gift, because we didn’t have enough.

“It was his first Christmas with me for a while and I couldn’t get him anything.”

The mum has also been heavily affected by another much-criticised Government policy: bedroom tax, which taxes homeowners for each bedroom they do not use.

She said: “I haven’t been able to move out of my three-bedroom house since our split.

“It’s a house we don’t need or want, but I can’t get out because the council only allows me to bid on specific properties.

“Some days you just don’t want to get out of bed, but you have to keep going. Poverty is an easy hole to fall into, but it’s hard to get out.”

Despite her situation, the Whitehawk resident praised Whitehawk Foodbank for its support, both financial and emotional.

She added: “They go above and beyond to do what they can.”