Universal Credit: 1 in 7 people in Flintshire will be hit by planned £20 benefits cut
The proposed benefits cut of £20-a-week will hit 1 in 7 people in Flintshire, Citizens Advice has warned.
Flintshire Citizens Advice has joined a growing chorus of voices urging the UK government to reverse a planned cut to the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift given to help struggling families during the pandemic.
Last week the UK’s three devolved administrations also called on the UK Government to reverse a planned cut.
A letter jointly signed by ministers from the Welsh and Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive was sent to the UK Government’s Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, expressing “grave concerns” regarding plans to withdraw the £20-per-week increase.
As it stands, the UK Government is set to slash benefits by £20 a week – equivalent to £1,040 a year – from 6 October.
The exact date people will see the cut kick in will depend on the day they get their Universal Credit payment.
The proposed cut to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit would impact 1 in 7 working-age people in the Flintshire County Council area.
According to the latest available figures, 42% of Flintshire residents that are set to see their benefits drop are families with children and 40% are already in work.
Staff and volunteers at the local charity have helped over 1,000 people with Universal Credit since March last year.
It says the £20 a week increase has been a ‘lifeline’ and has supported people who were already struggling before the pandemic as well as those hit by Covid job losses.
The charity warns a cut to the benefit this autumn, as energy bills rise with the colder weather, will see many struggle to afford their essential costs.
It fears a drop in income could be particularly difficult for new benefits claimants who may be unaware of the looming cut.
Stewart Whyte a benefits adviser from Citizens Advice Flintshire said:
“That extra money makes the difference between choosing to put the heating on or eating a decent meal for some people we support. During the pandemic, many have lost jobs through no fault of their own and are still struggling to find work.”
“The increase of £20 a week is absolutely essential for them to budget each month.”
“Many people seeking our advice at the moment are unaware of an impending cut to their Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit.”
“Understandably, when they realise their benefits are set to drop by £20 a week it causes a lot of anxiety.”
Salli Edwards, Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Advice Flintshire, said:
“Every day, our staff and volunteers see the difference the increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit has made to families.”
“It’s what has helped them keep their heads above water. A lot of people have had their lives turned upside down by this pandemic.”
“Many have never needed support from the benefits system before, whilst others were already on a financial cliff edge going into the crisis.”
“Without that extra money, we fear we’d see more people coming to us in debt, unable to pay their bills or turning to food banks because they can’t afford the essentials.”
“As we look to rebuild from Covid, we urge the UK government to keep this absolutely vital lifeline”. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com