Universal Credit Cuts: The devastating facts

Universal Credit is a payment to help people with their living costs. These individuals may include people on a low income, people who are out of work, and those who cannot or are unable to work. In the U.K, more than 5.5 million families have claimed Universal Credit.

Last year, in April, the U.K government announced a ‘£20-a-week-increase’ to Universal Credit in an attempt to combat the negative economic impact Covid had on people. This measure was later extended for a further six months, ending in September 2021. This extension, as reported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, helped prevent 500,000 people from being driven further into poverty. The BBC noted that many campaigners say that the £20 increase “has made the difference for some families between getting by and falling further into poverty”.

Recently, Therese Coffey has announced that this £20 increase will be withdrawn, as planned, by the end of September.

Many charities have opposed this decision. As Imran Hussain, Action for Children’s director of policy and campaigns stated, “There’s no faster way to push more children into poverty than by snatching £20 a week out of the pockets of our country’s poorest families.”

By taking away £20 a week, the government may be forcing over a million people to choose between feeding their families or heating their homes. With already such a strain on UK food banks and economic instability, this drastic cut will force even more to rely on local charities for food and support. 

Ignite Life opposes this decision by the UK government and urges you to write to your local MPs and take action to show your support. Please also donate to our food delivery service, so that we can continue to support families in food poverty.

For more advice on how you can make a difference and help to stop this, you can visit https://www.trusselltrust.org/keepthelifeline/ or use our email template below to contact your MP and have your voice heard.

Template email:

To find your MP’s email address: https://members.parliament.uk/members/Commons 

Dear _____,

As your constituent, I am writing to ask for your support in keeping the £20 increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit beyond October 2021. In 2020, the U.K government recognised that Universal Credit was not enough for struggling households to cover the cost of essentials.

This increase has made a huge difference to families in our area. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has reported that the £20 increase has helped prevent 500,000 people from being driven further into poverty. This is why I am supporting the ‘Keep the Lifeline’ campaign, because it is evident that it has helped hundreds of struggling families.

The planned cut to Universal Credit will be a devastating blow for millions of individuals who are struggling to make ends meet. The Trussell Trust’s research found that over a million people fear that they will be forced to choose between skipping meals or switching off their heating this winter if the government cuts off the increase.

There are hundreds of people who are already struggling financially because of the economic impact this pandemic has had. There are people who are struggling to put food on the table every day. Since April 2020, Ignite Life has delivered 80,000 meals. The Trussell Trust’s UK wide network of food banks has distributed 2.5 million food parcels from 2020-2021. These numbers are evidence enough that many families have experienced the financial consequences of the pandemic. And they will only experience more if the cut goes ahead.

Help people by choosing to keep the lifeline instead of cutting it.

I am asking you as my MP to write to the prime minister and urge him to keep the lifeline.

Choose to protect the vulnerable. Choose to help support them in this crisis. Choose to keep the lifeline—so people don’t have to sacrifice one basic necessity for another.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

___________