GMLC Director Jason Tetley writes on the urgent need to stop the Universal Credit cut next week.
On Tuesday 6 October, the Universal Credit uplift ends, plunging an additional half a million people and 200,000 children into poverty as a direct result – according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).
GMLC believes that social security should be a lifeline for individuals and families in need, providing stability, dignity and security for all claimants. Over the past 10 years, the level of benefits has been deliberately eroded as annual benefit rises have been capped at 1%, well below actual inflation levels.
It was against this backdrop that GMLC welcomed the £20 uplift increase to Universal Credit in April 2020, whilst demanding this was extended to other “legacy benefits” such as Job Seekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance and calling for wider fundamental reform of all benefits so that they become fit for purpose.
The impact of the £1,040 reduction in income will be profound upon the 6.2m low income households in receipt of Universal Credit, 2.2m of whom are working and having to claim Universal Credit to supplement poverty wages. In Greater Manchester almost 320,000 households will be affected and £6.2m each week will be taken out of the local economy.
This huge cut in the incomes of the poorest people in our community comes at the worst time. Only last week JRF estimated that low income families with children would need an additional £11 a week from October to cover rising living costs.
It is not too late to put pressure on the government, despite the shameful abstentions (acquiescence is approval!) in the House of Commons vote last week. The Covid pandemic response showed how quickly the government can act where there is political will.
GMLC supports the JRF #KeepTheLifeline campaign – if you have not already done so, contact your local MP and demand that the proposed cut is reversed.
You can also follow the work of ongoing campaigns against Universal Credit such as Unite the Community’s Universal Discredit campaign and Disabled People Against Cuts’ ongoing work against disability discrimination by the welfare system, including resistance to this latest cut.