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Council calls on the government to reverse Universal Credit uplift cut

Following a motion at the Council meeting on Wednesday 6 October, Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, is to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to express grave concern about how families in the Vale will be impacted by the government’s decision to cut the £20 Universal Credit uplift.  Cllr Smith will call on the government to reverse the cut and incorporate the £20 uplift permanently into Universal Credit.

In March 2020, the Government increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £20 a week to support families whose income had been affected as the country faced the economic fallout from the pandemic.  However, from 6 October 2021, the government ended this payment, resulting in the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the modern welfare state began, more than 70 years ago.

Removing the uplift in Universal Credit could directly impact more than 7,500 families in the Vale of White Horse, and local and national charities, including Elmore, Citizens Advice Bureau and The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have raised significant concerns about the potential impact this cut will have on the financial security and well-being of those effected.  Many of these families will also be seeing an increase in National Insurance costs, and in the cost of basic essentials such as food and utilities. 

Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “As a council we are absolutely committed to supporting vulnerable members of our community and work hard to assist those who face financial hardship.  Unfortunately, by removing the £20 uplift, the government will put even more pressure on families who may already be struggling to make ends meet.  We are therefore calling on the government to reverse this cut and to make the £20 uplift a permanent source of support.”

Cllr Samantha Bowring, who submitted the motion calling on the council to raise this issue with the government, said: “The Government says it wants to support people back into work as we emerge from the pandemic.  However, 60 percent of those who will be affected are already in work but in low paid jobs.  Removing the £20 a week uplift from those families, particularly at a time when retail prices have risen, and gas prices continue to increase significantly, is a cruel and unnecessary move which will put a huge strain onto many vulnerable families.”

Notes for editors:

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have calculated that 21 per cent of all working-age families will experience a £1,040-a-year cut to their incomes.

The total number of households on Universal Credit as of July 2021 was 7,516. Of those, 3,403 are in employment, while 4,114 were not in employment because they are off sick, full-time parents, or just temporarily unemployed.