No 10 says there will be no U-turn on plans to for a £20 weekly cut to the lifeline benefit for millions
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In a matter of weeks, six million Brits will see a sudden and dramatic drop in the amount of money they have every month.
Universal Credit is falling for every single claimant by around £86 per month, or £20 a week, as a Covid uplift comes to an end.
Downing Street yesterday refused to U-turn on the policy despite an internal assessment reportedly predicting a surge in homelessness, poverty and food banks.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has also refused to carry out a full impact assessment of the cut.
But independent analysis today finds families in the 10% least healthy areas of England will lose £207 a year on average – compared to £102 for families in the most healthy areas.
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The Health Foundation think tank said the gulf was because areas with the worst health outcomes also have a higher proportion of people claiming social security.
People in the 10% of areas with the highest share of Universal Credit claimants can expect to live just 59.8 years in good health.
People in the 10% of areas with the lowest share of claimants can enjoy 67.6 years in good health – or 7.8 years more.
Jo Bibby, of the Health Foundation, said: “A cut to Universal Credit would be a step backwards and an indication that the government has not learned from mistakes of the recovery from the financial crisis.
“The Chancellor must seriously consider the inextricable link between people’s income and their health in making this decision.”
Yet Boris Johnson ’s official spokesman yesterday said there would be no U-turn.
Asked if the “final decision has been made”, he replied: “Yes”.
The cut hits six million Brits’ payments between October 13 and November 12.
A Government spokesperson said: “As announced by the Chancellor at the Budget, the uplift to Universal Credit was always temporary. It was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.
“Universal Credit will continue to provide vital support for those both in and out of work and it’s right that the Government should focus on our Plan for Jobs, supporting people back into work and supporting those already employed to progress and earn more.”
So what did the Health Foundation find?
Here is a list of the least-hit, and worst-hit areas in England, with the Health Foundation’s calculation of how long people can expect to live a “healthy” life. (That is not the same as overall life expectancy, as people develop illnesses in old age).
Also listed is the Health Foundation’s calculation of the average cash loss per year, per member of the constituency in the UC cut – whether they’re on benefits or not.
Constituencies with a higher figure have a higher proportion of people on Universal Credit, which brings the average up. To someone actually on UC, the loss is £1,040 per year.
The areas where the most people are on Universal Credit
Blackpool (£283, 55.2 years)
Barking and Dagenham (£251, 61.3 years)
Oldham (£251, 59.8 years)
Middlesbrough (£251, 58.1 years)
Newham (£238, 59.9 years)
Blackburn with Darwen (£235, 58.7 years)
Enfield (£241, 63.8 years)
Birmingham (£238, 59.4 years)
Bradford (£232, 60.1 years)
Haringey (£246, 65.8 years)
Hartlepool (£238, 57.7 years)
Peterborough (£231, 60.5 years)
Wolverhampton (£229, 58.4 years)
Brent (£229, 66.5 years)
The areas where the fewest people are on Universal Credit
Wokingham (£76, 71.2 years)
Rutland (£82, 68 years)
Richmond upon Thames (£88, 70.8 years)
Surrey (£87, 69.9 years)
Windsor and Maidenhead (£94, 70.2 years)
York (£96, 65.4 years)
West Berkshire (£98, 68.6 years)
Bracknell Forest (£99, 67.8 years)
Central Bedfordshire (£99, 66.8 years)
Cambridgeshire (£99, 65.5 years)
South Gloucestershire (£100, 66.9 years)
Bath and North East Somerset (£104, 65.2 years)
Buckinghamshire (£102, 68.5 years)
Westminster (£111, 64.2 years)