A single mum says she has been forced to tell her two young children that Father Christmas won’t be bringing them gifts this year after being left with just £34 to survive off for the next five weeks.
Suzanne Coates said she had "no choice" and wanted to save their disappointment on Christmas Day after a move to Universal Credit left her unable to afford to buy them any presents.
The 29-year-old is now postponing the festive day until February when her benefit claim will have been processed, reports Hull Live.
But she has been left in tears with stress at the thought of breaking the magic around Santa to daughters, Bethany, 11 and Gracie Mae, 5.
"I feel really bad because I’ve said to the kids ‘Santa isnt real, I do it, I go shopping, I put your presents out’. I told them everything," she said.
"I’ve been crying so much recently, I’ve been an emotional wreck, I feel poorly constantly, stressing about it. I didn’t want to tell them but I had no choice."
Ms Coates switched to the new controversial benefit after getting a job as a cleaner, which meant she had to come off Job Seekers Allowance – which she had claimed for ten years – and claim for Universal Credit instead.
Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears, so applicants have to wait one calendar month before they receive their first payment and then have to wait up to seven days for the payment to reach their accounts, which can leave them short for five weeks.
But the mum was "determined" to get a job to make a better life for her and her daughters. She said she hated the job centre where she claims she was "treated like dirt."
However, she now wishes she had stayed on Job Seekers Allowance.
She said: "I wish I’d stayed on JSA because at least I had stability in the old system. You knew where you were with money and when you would get paid, it goes into bank every four weeks, but now I’m going from one month the other not knowing what money I’ve got.
"I know you’re meant to feel great when you get a job but I don’t feel great, I just want to pack it in.
"Universal Credit is just rubbish, there’s no stability in your life.
"I don’t know how I’ll manage, but we do, we buy from charity shops, I budget, I always make sure I’ve got a full freezer."
Ms Coates said she will postpone Christmas until February, when she will have received her first months’ wages.
She said her children seem to understand, and has promised them she will still make sure they have a happy Christmas.
She said: "They know they have to wait for their main gifts, they are still getting a little something but not what they have asked for all year round.
"But we’re still going to have a good Christmas, but more of happier one.
"Because of me telling them about Santa I feel a bit more happier knowing that they understand and know they know why I’ve been so upset, which I have.
"I said they will get stuff but they won’t have surprises because I ain’t got help from anyone else.
"They know not to be spoilt, they’ve had the odd few gifts that they didn’t know about in the past but I’ll add them when I do a second Christmas in February.
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"Usually I’m an organised mum but this year I changed and got a job to make something better for me and the kids and it’s ended up worse."
Previously, on the issue of Universal Credit a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman has said: “Universal Credit simplifies an out-of-date, complex system with evidence showing that under UC claimants are getting into work faster and staying in work longer.
“Our research shows that many people join Universal Credit with pre-existing arrears, but the proportion of people with arrears falls by a third after four months in UC."
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