Thousands in Angus affected by Universal Credit cut

The Government was due to axe a pandemic-inspired benefits boost on Wednesday and thousands of people in Angus will lose around £1000 a year as a result, figures suggest.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 11:36am
Thousands in Angus affected by Universal Credit cut
Boris Johnson is "abandoning millions" to hardship by pushing ahead with the fiercely opposed cut to Universal Credit (UC), a charity has warned.

The decision to end the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift has faced strong opposition, with the first ministers of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales among high-profile politicians and campaigners who have urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to scrap the contentious proposals.

In a letter, the leaders said there was no rationale to justify cutting crucial financial support at a point when people across the UK are facing "an unprecedented squeeze on their household budgets."

Department for Work and Pensions figures show there were 9597 people claiming Universal Credit in Angus in July – the latest available data. Of those, 62% were not in work.

They are among more than 5.8 million claimants across the UK who may face a struggle to make ends meet, according to campaigners.

Despite months of campaigning, claimants were expected to receive final payments containing the uplift up to October 13.

Anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said the end of the uplift represented the "biggest ever overnight cut to social security" and claimed the Government's decision could plunge up to half a million people into poverty.

Katie Schmuecker, from the JRF, said: "The Prime Minister is abandoning millions to hunger and hardship with his eyes wide open.

"The decision flies in the face of the Government's mission to unite and level up our country. People’s bills won’t get cheaper from Wednesday and families are already anxious about how they will get through a looming cost of living crisis.

"This decision shows a total disregard for the consequences."

A Government spokesman said: “We’ve always been clear that the uplift and the furlough scheme were temporary. They were designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and they have done so."

He added that Universal Credit would continue to support people in and out of work and that it was right for the Government to focus on its Plan for Jobs, to support people back into work.

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