A SINGLE parent is warning others of the vulnerable position universal credit left her in after her benefits were capped because she couldn’t work enough over the summer holidays.

Mum of four Christine Gregory, who has previously campaigned on the sexual exploitation of women, struggled over the summer holidays when her UC payment reduced by almost £300 because she didn’t earn enough to be exempt from the benefit cap.

Under the scheme there is an exemption to the cap on the amount of benefits a household can receive, which has been £542 since April.

Despite working two social care jobs while looking after her three primary-school age children Christine was £11.33 short of the £542 target and was docked just under £300 from her benefit payment on August 13.

She told the Adver: “I’m looking out for other people because it’s unfair and it’s going to cause a lot of people to be vulnerable.

“If you don’t earn that £542 you lose everything you work for. So you work for basically nothing because they take it back off you by putting you on the benefit cap.

“It’s causing me mental health problems, I feel anxious, I’m always worried about how much I’m going to be earning to hit this deadline.

Christine is also recovering from a prolapsed disc. She had an injection of cortisone in July and was signed off work for a week. But she had to go back early with limited capability to try and hit the target for the month.

“I ended up having my 80-year-old nan and 15-year-old daughter look after the kids to try and hit this cap,” she said.

“For the summer holidays it’s just really hard, and considering that’s the time you want to spend time with your children and do stuff with them.

“It is going to cause mental health issues and people to become very vulnerable, especially single parents, whether that’s a man or a woman.

She has also reported the stress of having to work which has disrupted her family life

“My son plays up, He becomes more difficult, I think it affects them because I’m not around," she said.

“Do I sit on the benefit cap and not bother working, causing myself stress, and get my family back together and just go out and do voluntary work. That’s the position I’m in.

“I feel trapped into a system that I’m going to be stuck in until my youngest is 18.”

Justin Tomlinson MP for North Swindon and parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “Universal Credit means you will always be better off as you increase your hours and it provides the wrap-around support in terms of additional child care training and support into either finding work or increasing hours worked.”