A WREXHAM mum says she has been forced to rely on food donations to feed her family as a result of Universal Credit.

Emma Holland, who has two sons, said the UK government’s decision to replace six benefits and merge them into one had placed her into debt and was the ‘worst thing’ to happen to her family.

The single payment has come in for widespread criticism because of the way it is given out in arrears, leading many to fall behind on their rent payments.

Universal Credit is currently being rolled out across Wrexham to around 4,587 residents, 40 per cent of whom are in employment according to a recent council report.

The local authority said it had also led to an increase in the amount of arrears it is owed.

Emma has now joined a campaign launched by Plaid Cymru politicians in the county, calling on the single payment to be scrapped.

She said: “I was put onto Universal Credit last December when I changed jobs.

“Immediately I was put into debt as I couldn’t wait six weeks for a payment and had to borrow £650 which I am still paying off.

“Since my changeover two major errors have been made on my claim, both resulting in financial hardship for me and my two sons.

“My biggest problem occurred in November when two separate months wages were put together to give me an artificially inflated salary.

“This meant that I only received £240 universal credit for the month instead of the £850 I was due to receive.”

Despite the fact Emma has appealed, she said the Department for Work and Pensions had refused to give her the additional amount.

She said it led to her having to rely on food donations to feed her children this month.

Emma added: “Universal Credit is the worst thing to ever happen to me and my family.”

Plaid Cymru councillors in Wrexham have launched a petition against Universal Credit in recent weeks.

They have also held stalls in the town to find out people’s views and experiences of it.

Queensway councillor Carrie Harper said Emma’s case was one of many similar stories they had heard.

She said: “It’s horrific that local people are having to rely on food donations because of the draconion and cold way this system has being implemented.

“The Tories just don’t seem to care about the way the flaws in the system are impacting on people’s lives.

“Thanks to Emma’s initiative we collected hundreds of signatures from concerned residents calling for the system to be halted on Saturday and gave out hundreds more leaflets to raise awareness about what’s happening.”

A new Facebook group has been set up for residents to share their concerns called ‘Wrexham against Universal Credit’.

The petition can be signed by visiting https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/sort-out-universal-credit.html

The Department for Work and Pensions has been approached for comment.