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‘What do they expect me to do?’ Part-time workers dismayed by benefits rule changes

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Part-time workers have reacted with dismay at the tightening of rules that could result in a cut to their benefits unless they work longer hours or take steps to increase their earnings.The changes, which that come into force in January, will require claimants who work up to 15 hours a week (24 hours a week for couples) to take action to boost their earnings.

The current threshold is nine hours, but this goes up to 12 hours a week on Monday, and 19 hours a week for couples.In his growth plan aimed at kickstarting the economy that he unveiled on Friday, the chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, said the change would affect 120,000 people on universal credit who were in work on low earnings. “They will be expected to actively search for work and attend weekly or fortnightly appointments at a job centre in order to secure more or better paid work, or they could have their benefits reduced,” he said.Jess Philips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, tweeted that the changes would hurt women most. “Women!

That’s who this hurts. Women are more likely to work part-time. If chancellor had to pay the billions of pounds of free labour women do he would be borrowing even more dangerous amounts,” she wrote.A number of part-time workers, some over the age of 50, contacted the Guardian to say they would struggle to increase their hours because of health problems, childcare or other constraints.Sarah Card, 49, a single parent who works as a behaviour support assistant at a secondary school in Bradford, said: “As I work in a school, I can’t just increase my hours.

I have asked about extra hours, but a full-time position would mean starting before 8am and I simply can’t do that due to travel and childcare options not being available so what does the

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