UC cut hits tens of thousands across Cheshirewritten by Bella Palmer
Despite strong opposition to the plans, the Government pressed ahead with removing the temporary £20 uplift in weekly payments
Tens of thousands of people across Cheshire are likely to be affected after the cut to Universal Credit (UC) came into effect.
Despite strong opposition to the plans, the Government pressed ahead with removing the pandemic-driven £20 uplift in weekly payments.
There have been widespread fears that the cut, introduced on Wednesday, could throw many into poverty, with Citizens Advice warning that a third of claimants could end up in debt.
Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation, said 4.4 million households, with 5.1 million adults and 3.5 million children, will see their incomes fall by £1,000.
Ian Oulton, a trustee at West Cheshire Food Bank, said it was too early to judge exactly what the impact would be but said that it was likely people would be affected.
He said: Last year up to March we gave out just short of 6,000 parcels, which is the equivalent of feeding over 13,000 people locally, of which there were 5,000 children. When the uplift was introduced, we saw a drop in demand for vouchers. I don't think it takes a genius to work out the reverse may well happen.
We have got the double whammy of fuel and heating costs. What we don't want is people having to choose between feeding their families and heating homes, he said. I know there's the £500 million that's been allocated by the Government to councils, which is obviously welcome, but it's a drop in the ocean compared to the cuts in Universal Credit.
He said: They always said it was going to be temporary and I think it's bad enough for people who were on Universal Credit, got that welcome uplift, and that's been taken away. But it's worth thinking about people who have actually gone onto Universal Credit since it was introduced, have been used to receiving that amount, and now it's gone.
I can't say it has impacted as of yet but I think we're all concerned that it will do, he said.
The cut means that single people aged 25 and under will see their weekly payments fall from £79 to £59, while a couple would see their weekly payments drop from £137 to £117.
In total, 5.8 million people claim Universal Credit across England, Scotland and Wales with around 40% of them classed as being employed.
The reduction coincides with an increase in the cost of living. The Bank of England (BoE) has forecast that inflation will rise above 4% while energy, petrol and grocery prices are rising.
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