Universal Credit cut: Exact date thousands of families will see their income plummet

Thérèse Coffey: Universal Credit uplift was always 'temporary'

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Universal Credit will be slashed despite uproar, meaning millions of claimants will struggle significantly without the extra money as the Government winds down its financial coronavirus support schemes. The backlash to the cut has been severe, with charities sounding the alarm that thousands will be sent into poverty by the Government.

A Health Foundation study has found the benefit cut will trigger mental illness and poorer health for thousands of people, hitting the sickest areas of the UK hardest.

Government ministers have been urged to scrap the benefit uplift, which was brought in at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic to help the UK’s least well off through the pandemic.

The base rate was raised by £20 per week at the time, and has been in place since March 2020.

Members of Mr Johnson’s own party have been critical of the change, including six of the Tory’s former work and pensions secretaries.

READ MORE: Louise Minchin erupts at Therese Coffey over Universal Credit

A well-placed Whitehall official said the Government’s own analysis highlighted the deep impact of reversing the change.

They said: “The internal modelling of ending the Universal Credit uplift is catastrophic.

“Homelessness and poverty are likely to rise, and food banks usage will soar. It could be the real disaster of the autumn.

Another minister said: “There’s no doubt that this is going to have a serious impact on thousands of people and colleagues are really worried, I think it will definitely eclipse social care as a political problem.

“It’s not just red wall MPs who are fearing a major backlash from the public.”

Labour is expected to force a parliamentary debate on Universal Credit next Wednesday — with many Tory MPs expected to explain their concerns to the Chancellor.

But the calls are not being heard by the Cabinet, who are insistent the uplift must end.

A Government spokesman 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.

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“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.”

The Government has also not carried out any formal assessment into the likely impact of cutting Universal Credit.

Work and pensions minister, Baroness Stedman-Scott, told the House of Lords last week that the department was not required to do so.

She said: “The department has not completed an impact assessment of the ending of the temporary uplift, as it was introduced as a temporary measure.

“This is because we have no obligation to conduct an impact assessment as we’re returning to business as usual, as the temporary Covid uplift is expiring as it was always intended to do.”

When will claimants lose their money?

The £20 a week uplift will end on October 6, 2021.

The exact date claimants will stop receiving the extra money will be different, depending on what day of the week the money goes into the claimant’s account.

The Government’s bull-headed approach to cutting the benefit continues after the announcement that National Insurance will be hiked for taxpayers to pay for NHS backlogs and a long-awaited overhaul of the social care system.

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