Plaid Cymru has reached out to people affected by recent changes in rules to claiming Universal Credit by providing phone services free of charge for making calls to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
This follows the discovery that the DWP is charging people 55p a minute to call their helpline, landing people who are already facing financial hardship with a bill they may not be able to afford to pay.
Plaid Cymru is calling for the charges to be scrapped as soon as possible, but in the meantime is taking practical steps to help those affected.
Plaid Cymru’s Parliamentary Leader Liz Saville Roberts said: ‘It is shocking that those trying to claim Universal Credit face being charged for the privilege of simply speaking to someone about their claim.
‘Notwithstanding the barriers already faced by many claimants, such as spiralling debts, homelessness and evictions, charging people who are broke to find out the status of their claim is absurd.
‘Also, it is usually poorer households who are least likely to have reliable access to the internet, so the high cost of calling about universal credit is likely to hit them hardest.
‘I hope they will drop this outrageous charge as soon as possible.
‘In the meantime, constituents who wish to phone the DWP to discuss their Universal Credit application are welcome to come to our and use the phone free of charge.’
People wishing to use Plaid Cymru offices are encouraged to simply call in to their local office. The addresses can be found by searching online or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.