It comes as a poll today finds just 1 in 10 people back slashing the benefit, a cut which kicks into payments from October 13
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Tens of millions of people will be unable to afford household basics when the Government robs the poorest households of £20 a week, a study warns today.
Just one in 10 people backs slashing Universal Credit, according to an Opinium poll for the New Economics Foundation.
The think tank says that “when the uplift is removed, 21.4 million people, including seven million children, will live in households that do not have the amount they need to afford all the basics”.
NEF senior economist Sarah Arnold said: “The UK is in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, and it is due to sharpen significantly for those on the lowest incomes over the next few months. “Millions are set to be hit by a triple whammy of price increases for food and energy bills, welfare cuts and tax rises – all at the same time.
“Most worryingly for the five million families on Universal Credit, their support will be cut by up to £1,040 a year from next month.
“The UK safety net is already one of the weakest both among advanced economies and in the UK’s own post-war history.
“Yet this is about to be compounded by the largest overnight cut to welfare in 70 years, hitting families disproportionately in the North East, West Midlands, and Yorkshire and the Humber.
“It makes a mockery of the government’s intention to ‘level up’.”
Ms Arnold said “widespread deprivation” will be unleashed, which would be “devastating for the health and wellbeing of those affected”.
She added: “There will be significant wider social and economic implications.
“The cut risks jeopardising any economic recovery from the Covid-related downturn, by cutting the incomes of those most likely to spend money to keep the economy moving.”
The temporary “uplift” was announced in March last year as the coronavirus pandemic hit Britain.
Calls to extend the rise are mounting amid growing warnings of a winter living standards crisis.
But Cabinet Minister Grant Shapps yesterday insisted the rise is “going to end”.
He told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show: “I think most people recognise that if it’s brought in for the pandemic, it’s going to end as we move back to people going back to work and more normal times – we can’t keep all these things in place otherwise you’d have to put several pennies on income tax to pay for the policy to run.”