Panic as government plans to cut Universal Credit top-up
The government is planning to cut the £20 top-up that people on Universal Credit have been receiving for the past year, which may force millions into debt.
Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey has confirmed that the extra £20 will be withdrawn at the end of September.
The news has caused people across the nation to panic as money was scarce to begin with.
Citizen’s Advice have claimed that the cutback will force 2.3 million people into ‘Red Wall’ areas.
The top-up has reportedly helped over 700,000 people stay above the poverty line during the pandemic, but the cutback ensures that these people will end up spending every penny they have on their bills each month.
In reply to these worries, the government put forth the argument that the top-up will not be needed as the economy is beginning to open up once more, but low-income families are at risk of reaching dangerous levels of poverty due to the pay reduction.
Coffey and PM Boris Johnson, claimed that the move will encourage people to obtain better-paid work, but that is not always possible.
In response to the news, six former welfare secretaries for the Conservative party wrote a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak in a bid to make the £20 uplift permanent.
The move would support the economy’s recovery, not just low-income families.
MPs and the public alike worry that Johnson and Coffey have ignored the lack of data and instead assume that everything will work out their way.
Dame Clare Moriarty, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, described the cut as “a hammer blow to millions of people”.
She added: “It undermines our chance of a more equal recovery by tipping families into the red and taking money from the communities most in need.”
Charlie Young, Project Manager at Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice, said: “We’re gearing up to provide more crisis support if the cut happens. That means food bank referrals, fuel vouchers and helping parents of babies and toddlers get access to nappies and milk.
“This type of support is critical, but ultimately nothing can plug the gap that will be left in people’s budgets if that extra money is taken away.”