ACROSS the UK, an estimated 7.4 million working people are now reliant on universal credit to make ends meet.

This is a sad reflection on how millions of working people across the private and public sector alike have suffered from years of low pay and pay freezes. It is now believed that 1.4 million workers are on zero-hours contracts, not sure from one week to the next whether they will be offered any work and have a chance of being paid.

I was appalled to learn recently that a staggering 41 per cent of universal credit claimants who pay rent are in arrears.

If all that wasn't bad enough, readers will be shocked to learn that the universal credit helpline, set up by the government, charges premium rates to vulnerable people needing help and advice.

Anyone calling the universal credit helpline is charged an outrageous 55p per minute!

That equates to a staggering £33 an hour. This shows the clear contempt that the Conservative Government has towards to working people who are suffering the effects of hardship and austerity.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was right to highlight recently that we can do better than this.

I was pleased to see Theresa May presented with a mock P45 at the recent Conservative conference in Manchester.

We need a General Election as soon as possible to ensure that she gets a P45 for real.

Joan Pritchard-Jones