Will Universal Credit be cut?

By Tom Blackburn

Millions of Universal Credit recipients are currently bracing themselves for further hardship as the government prepares to withdraw the £20 weekly “uplift” introduced last year.

The uplift, introduced in April 2020, was intended to help claimants during the pandemic. However, with the worst of the pandemic apparently over, the government says that the boost is no longer necessary and intends to withdraw it.

Charities and even some Conservative MPs have appealed to the government to rethink its plans to scrap the uplift, which is scheduled to be withdrawn from October 6th.

So will the government proceed with the cut to Universal Credit, and who stands to be affected?

The Department for Work and Pensions increased Universal Credit at the start of the pandemic to help claimants cope with the extra burden (Chris Young/PA Wire)

Will Universal Credit be cut?

Many people - not just Universal Credit claimants, but also a wide range of political figures, charities and campaigners - are hoping there’ll be a last-minute change of heart on the government’s part.

However, Downing Street appears to be sticking to its position and insists that the £20 uplift - which amounts to £1,040 a year - will indeed be withdrawn from next month.

“The position on this is as has been set out,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman told Westminster journalists. “The uplift to UC was always temporary to support people through the toughest stages of the pandemic.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, has told MPs the cut is necessary to “balance the books”.

Government representatives insist the planned cut to Universal Credit will go ahead from October 6th (Shared Content Unit)

Who’ll be affected by the Universal Credit cut?

Six million people receive Universal Credit, about a third of whom are in work. All will be affected by the withdrawal of the £20 uplift, but some will be left worse off than others.

The government’s private analysis paints a bleak picture of the consequences likely to follow the looming cut to Universal Credit.

Internal modelling, analysing its likely impact, was leaked to the Financial Times and has been described as “catastrophic” by a Whitehall source.

It predicts food bank use, homelessness and poverty will all rise as a result of the cut.

The government's private analysis predicts food bank usage, along with homelessness and poverty, will increase as a result of the cut to UC (Portia Thaxter)

What can I do if I need financial help?

If you find yourself needing financial help following next month’s cut to Universal Credit, your local Citizens Advice Bureau can assist you.

Citizens Advice can help you check you’re receiving all the government support you’re entitled to, and provide guidance with your debt and bills.

You can find your local Citizens Advice Bureau here . Alternatively, you can call their Adviceline on 0800 702 2020 if you’re in Wales, or 0800 144 8848 if you’re in England.

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