A COMMUNITY branch of a trade union carried out a day of action in Jaywick to highlight concerns about the introduction of Universal Credit.

The new system, which is set to be launched in Tendring next month, is replacing six other benefits with a single payment system, but critics claim it is increasing poverty.

Clacton’s newly-formed Unite Community Branch hosted the event at St Christopher’s Church, in Meadow Way, on Saturday, despite arriving to find a burst pipe and flooding due to the freezing conditions.

The branch highlighted concerns that Universal Credit claimants are facing long delays, payment errors and financial hardship.

A spokesman said the branch was also providing information and application forms for people to apply for a special NHS and Essex County Council Winter Warmers packs, which include a fleece hat, gloves, thermal underwear and vests for elderly and vulnerable residents to keep warm.

He added: “Universal Credit is a flawed system which is putting vulnerable people at risk of financial hardship and causing anxiety and stress which affects their health and overall well-being.

“Private landlords make a lot of money from the housing element of Universal Credit so they ought to be more understanding about the needs of their tenants.

“Unite in Clacton is determined to keep campaigning on this issue.”

The branch is also collecting signatures for a letter urging Tendring Council to set an example to other landlords by pledging not to evict any tenant who falls into arrears due to mistakes made to their Universal Credit benefits.

Conservative Clacton MP Giles Watling previously said there is cross-party support for Universal Credit and it is a “positive development” away from the former fragmented benefits system.

He said a £1.5billion package was announced in the budget last year to address issues with the delivery of the new system.