‘The world stopped but the bills kept coming’

Covid: Families forced into hardship by pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has not only claimed the lives of more than 125,000 thousand people in the UK, but it has also led to many thousands of families living in financial hardship.

The number of people claiming universal credit doubled from about three million in March 2020, to six million by mid-January 2021.

Many have never had to claim benefits before, or rely on food banks to eat.

BBC South’s home affairs correspondent, Nikki Mitchell, has been speaking to the Hunter family from Leigh Park in Hampshire; Sam Scholder, from Waterlooville, who is one of the two-and-a-half million self-employed people who do not qualify for financial support during the pandemic; and Marie Palmer, from Wokingham in Berkshire, who was evicted from her home last year.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this story you can find help at support from BBC Action Line here.

Follow BBC South on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to south.newsonline@bbc.co.uk.

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