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Families will suffer if Universal Credit cut goes through

 

Three in five said it would be harder to afford food after the cut and nearly half said it would be harder to cover essential bills

People relying on benefits say they will struggle to get by once the UK government implements a cut to Universal Credit (UC).

The Tory Westminster administration has said it will press on with plans to could entitlement by £20 a week from October.

UC levels were raised to deal with the impact of the pandemic, and anti-poverty campaigners have been calling for the uplift to remain.

They say a cut will put significant pressure on family budgets.

This is backed by polling by Save The Children which shows that almost half (47%) of those on UC in the UK – equivalent to nearly three million claimants – say they don’t think they’ll be able to live on a household budget that’s £20 per week lower.

As well as the half of people who don’t expect to be able to afford the loss, a further 18% say they don’t know if they’ll be able to manage. In other words, only a third (35%) of those on Universal Credit are confident they’ll be able to make ends meet come October.

And single parents are the most concerned about their finances, with over half (52%) saying they don’t think they can live on £20 less per week. 

Asked about how their household budgets would be impacted, three in five said it would be harder to afford food after the cut and nearly half said it would be harder to cover essential bills.

Families also said it will make it harder to pay for kids’ clothing, books and toys.

The results also show that the relaxation of Covid restrictions isn’t taking the pressure off low-income households, with two in five say it has become harder to afford the basics such as food and in the last six months. 

Along with other voices from across the political spectrum and civil society, Save the Children is urging the UK government to ‘keep the lifeline’ and abandon its scheduled cut to Universal Credit in October.  

If it went ahead, the cut would be the most significant social security cut since the Second World War, hitting millions of household budgets by more than £1,000 per year. 

Dan Paskins, director of UK impact at Save the Children, said: "The £20 increase is a lifeline for families. People we work with tell us that they’re relying on it to buy essentials like food and clothing for themselves and their children. Without it, hundreds of thousands more people will be pushed into poverty.  

“That’s why we’re calling on the UK government to abandon its plans to cut Universal Credit this autumn. Across political divides, a growing number of voices agree that our social security net has got to be strong enough to catch people when they need it most.  

“This is a test of the UK government’s levelling up agenda. Ministers should support families and communities to rebuild, not cut them adrift.” 

 

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