Universal Credit: PM under pressure to scrap £20 cut as charity warns it will be ‘recipe for disaster’

The £20 weekly uplift was introduced temporarily to help claimants during the Covid pandemic

The extra £20-per-week boost to Universal Credit introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic is set to come to and end in October.

Charities, campaigners and MPs have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the end of the temporary payments measures to be scrapped, with many recipients of Universal Credit set to lose £1,040 annually if the cuts go ahead.

The £20 weekly uplift was introduced temporarily to help claimants during the Covid pandemic, but ministers plan to start phasing out the increase from the end of September, based on individual claimants’ payment dates.

However, new research has said carers, shelf stackers and hairdressers will be among the workers hit by the biggest overall drop in welfare payments being compounded by the Universal Credit cut.

As an example, research from the Action for Children charity examined how much less a sole-earner couple with two children will receive in social security compared to 2010, factoring in previous benefit squeezes.

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

‘Recipe for disaster for struggling families’

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”.

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

“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.”

Labour is also set to 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 (8 September).

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.”

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