The Government must cancel the universal credit cut

Families are facing a cruel triple whammy: At a time when fuel, food and energy bills are all rising, the Government is hitting them with an unfair tax rise, and today, Ministers have chosen to press ahead with a damaging £1000 cut to Universal Credit.

4.4 million households, with 5.1 million adults and 3.5 million children, have just seen their monthly incomes fall by £1000 overnight.

In Manchester Withington, 8850 households will be affected by the cut, including over 4700 children. Almost 3500 of those affected are working households.

For 1 million households nationally, that will mean an immediate loss of over 10% of their income.

On the same day that Boris Johnson addresses Tory conference, he and Rishi Sunak have just made the biggest ever overnight cut to social security – taking the basic rate of benefits to its lowest level since 1990. This is wrong for families and wrong for the economy.

For many people on Universal Credit, £20 a week is the difference between feeding their family or not. It’s reprehensible that this lifeline be taken away.

The Tories may say that the uplift was only ever meant to be temporary – but if even they were forced to acknowledge that the previous amount wasn’t enough to live on in 2020, then how can they argue it’s enough to live on now, when we face a soaring cost of living crisis?

The government has now announced a new ‘Household Support Scheme’ – but temporary and inadequate sticking plasters are no substitute for a proper social security system that offers security to families in hard times.

Replacing the £20 a week uplift that six million families have been relying on with the equivalent of just £1.60 a week – as this fund does – will do little to spare families from hardship.

Boris Johnson now needs to get a grip on the cost of living crisis he has created. He should start by cancelling his cut to Universal Credit and changing course on the biggest tax rise in half a century.

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