Dad cries moment before suicide after Universal Credit wait left him with £4.61

Waiting for a payment from Universal Credit was ‘the final nail in the coffin’ for a single dad who killed himself, his mum has said.

Phillip Herron, 34, ended up £20,000 in debt, including payday loans with 1,000 per cent interest, and his children told their grandmother Santa hadn’t come the year before.

He was left with just £4.61 in his bank account as he waited for the benefit. As it is paid monthly in arrears there is an average five-week wait for the first payment to be received.

Phillip quit his job in a factory to look after his three children but fell behind with rent and trying to feed and clothe them.

Minutes before he took his own life on March 18, he posted a picture of himself crying in his car.

His mother, Sheena Derbyshire, 54, told the Mirror it was dangerous to make families wait so long for payments when they are already desperate.

Phillip Herron, 34, died with only £4.61 after the wait for Universal Credit payments plunged him further into debt (Picture: Mirrorpix)

She said: ‘In his suicide note he said his family would be better off if he wasn’t there anymore.

‘He was a single dad. He was responsible. He always had money before and the kids had the best of everything.’

Universal Credit was brought in by the coalition government in 2013 to replace a number of benefits with one single payment.

Mrs Derbyshire only discovered how dire Phillip’s financial situation had become in the weeks after his death.

Letters at his home detailed how much debt he was in, and he had also been served an eviction notice.

Phillip posted this picture on social media just minutes before taking his own life (Picture: Mirrorpix)
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘Our thoughts are with Mr Herron’s family.

‘Suicide is a very complex issue, so it would be wrong to link it solely to someone’s benefit claim.

‘We are committed to safeguarding vulnerable claimants and keep guidance under constant review to provide the highest standard of protection.’
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