Universal Credit: Tens of thousands in county lose £20-a-week uplift

More than 37,000 county residents will lose about £1,000 a year after the government axed a pandemic-inspired benefit boost, figures suggest.

The decision to end the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift has faced strong opposition, with the first ministers of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales from high-profile politicians and campaigners who have urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to scrap the contentious proposals.

In a letter, the leaders said there was no rationale to justify cutting crucial financial support at a point when people across the UK are facing “an unprecedented squeeze on their household budgets”.

Department for Work and Pensions figures show there were 17,786 people claiming Universal Credit in Telford & Wrekin in July, 20,098 in Shropshire and 8,009 in Powys – the latest available data.

For Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire 57 per cent were not in work, with 58 per cent in Powys.

They are among more than 5.8 million claimants across the UK who may face a struggle to make ends meet, according to anti-poverty campaigners.

Despite months of campaigning, the uplift ended yesterday October 6, with claimants expected to receive final payments containing the uplift up to October 13.

Anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said the end of the uplift represented the “biggest ever overnight cut to social security”.

It claimed the Government’s decision could plunge up to half a million people into poverty.

Katie Schmuecker, from the JRF, said: “The Prime Minister is abandoning millions to hunger and hardship with his eyes wide open.”

She added the decision “flies in the face of the Government’s mission to unite and level up our country”.

“People’s bills won’t get cheaper from Wednesday and families are already anxious about how they will get through a looming cost of living crisis,” she said.

“This decision shows a total disregard for the consequences.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We’ve always been clear that the uplift to Universal Credit and the furlough scheme were temporary.

“They were designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and they have done so.”

He said Universal Credit would continue to provide support for people in and out of work and added that it was right for the Government to focus on its Plan for Jobs, which aims to support people back into work and help those already working to progress.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News