Universal Credit sees army veteran struggle to survive on just £3 until New Year

An army veteran with just a 'handful of change' to live on until January is struggling to cope as he relies on foodbanks and sleeps on the floor. 

David Baddeley has £3 left until the New Year after paying for necessities and the running costs of the narrowboat he lives on, highlighting the bleak reality of those on Universal Credit .

The 64-year-old has found it difficult to get work at his age and instead is given £300-a-month on the controversial benefit system.

He sleeps on a mattress on the floor of his boat and has been given presents to open on Christmas Day by his church, reports Stoke on Trent Live .

The dad-of-two's friends have agreed to pay for coal to keep his boat warm as the winter sets in and he gets the bare minimum nutrition through emergency food parcels.

David, who moors his boat in Westport Lake, Stoke-on-Trent, served in the Royal Artillery for three years.

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He bought his boat in 2016 for £10,000 after getting divorced from his wife and he remains upbeat about his situation.

"It's a struggle but I'm not complaining. Some people live in cardboard boxes, at least I've got a roof over my head," he said.

"I had spent all of my money buying the boat and until recently was sleeping on the floor but I now have a mattress and blankets."

David, who is required to visit his case worker every two weeks at the Jobcentre Plus in Hanley, said he will get his next Universal Credit payment on January 2.

"I live in food banks and I was given some presents to open on Christmas Day from the church that I go to in Hanley. So 2019 is looking to be my best Christmas since 2016," he continued.

"I've got coal to keep me warm and a bed to sleep on. My friends help me." 

To "justify receiving benefits" while he is not working, he volunteers for Landau, a charity which supports people with learning difficulties.

David worked as a security guard after leaving the army and then as a social worker for more than a decade and said he is using his skills to "help the community".

"I feel like I'm doing something for society while I'm being paid by the Government."

David went on to praise his case worker who he said is "very pleased" with his progress, adding: "What I'm doing is what all people on benefits should be doing."

"Putting something back into society while we're being supported.

"People in my age group find it hard because the pension age has been extended and there can be age discrimination when trying to seek employment.

"We're too young to get our pension but it's harder for us to find work."

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

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