“It will force many into hardship and poverty”
County Cllr Julie Gibson, the Labour Group Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration has joined calls for the Government to scrap its planned changes to Universal Credit due to come into force in April 2021. Among the measures will be the loss of the £20 per week uplift for Universal Credit which was introduced to help many through the pandemic.
Cllr Gibson said: “I urge the Government to listen to the the concerns of welfare organisations, charities, local councillors and other partners, to keep the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit. Given that the £20 per week was introduced to help people through the pandemic it is astonishing that the Government now justifies its removal, when all forecasts show a likely increase in unemployment as a result of the economic fall-out from the pandemic.”
She continued: “Figs from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation show that 6.2 million families across the UK will feel a £1,040 hit to their yearly incomes almost overnight and 500,000 people – amongst whom 200,000 are children – are at real risk of falling into poverty and deprivation.
She added: “In West Lancashire we are still seeing small increases in the rate of unemployment which currently stands at 5.3% (most recent data available October 2020 – www.nomis.gov.uk) and with the economic uncertainty over the fall-out of COVID we sadly expect that this figure will increase in the coming months. Many of these people will move on to claiming Universal Credit at a time when it is being cut by the Government.”
Cllr Gibson said: “It is clearly unfair that just as we enter the Christmas period families in West Lancashire will be left with a future of uncertainty. Having faced the uncertainties over COVID they will now face uncertainty over unemployment and potential greater hardship in the Spring. I would urge the Government to listen to these concerns and keep the £20 uplift which will be a vital lifeline to many.”