Hairdressers, carers and shelf stackers to be among hardest hit by Universal Credit cut

By Neil Shaw & Katie Dickinson

Hairdressers, carers and shelf stackers will be among the workers hardest hit by the drop in welfare payments compounded by the Universal Credit cut, according to new research.

Nurses, primary teachers and street cleaners will also potentially lose more than £1,700 a year compared to 2010 if the £20-a-week uplift ends as planned next month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is coming under pressure from charities, campaigners and even some Tory MPs to scrap the end of the temporary increase introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read more: Go here for the latest coronavirus updates and breaking Covid-19 news

Recipients of Universal Credit could lose £1,040 annually if the cut goes ahead, WalesOnline reports.

Research from the Action for Children charity went further to examine how much less a sole-earner couple with two children will receive in social security compared to 2010, factoring in previous benefit squeezes.

The families of hairdressers will have lost £1,982 on average, shelf stackers £1,843 and care workers £1,773, according to the analysis.

Street cleaners were estimated to lose £1,769, nurses £1,736 and primary school teachers £1,734.

Action for Children policy director Imran Hussain urged the Prime Minister to rethink the plan, warning it is a “recipe for disaster for struggling families”.

“Too many childhoods are overshadowed by poverty and hardship, and the pandemic is making things worse,” he said.

“We’re talking about hairdressers, shop-workers and carers – not big earners but people who are proud to work and do everything they can to provide for their children.”

Meanwhile, Labour will challenge Tory critics of the cut to “do the right thing” by joining them in calling for it to be reversed in an opposition day debate in the Commons on Wednesday.

New analysis from Labour suggests the cut would take £2.5bn from the economies of the North of England and the Midlands.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “Labour is giving Conservative MPs the chance to do the right thing, stand up to the Prime Minister and defend their constituents from this devastating cut.

“Once again, this Government’s rhetoric doesn’t stand up to reality. They promised investment in the North and Midlands but are instead pulling billions out of local economies.”

The £20 weekly uplift was introduced temporarily to help claimants weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.

But ministers plan to start phasing out the increase from the end of September, based on individual claimants’ payment dates.

A Government spokesman said: “As announced by the Chancellor at the Budget, the uplift to Universal Credit was always temporary.

“It was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.

“Universal Credit will continue to provide vital support for those both in and out of work, and it’s right that the Government should focus on our Plan for Jobs, supporting people back into work and supporting those already employed to progress and earn more.”

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