More than a fifth of Britain’s working-age families will soon be forced to make ends meet on £1,040 less per year despite already being on low incomes, according to new analysis, as experts urge Boris Johnson “it’s not too late” to reverse the universal credit cut.
Deprived people in Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands and the North East and North West of England will bear the brunt of the cut when ministers roll back the £20-per-week increase – introduced at the start of the pandemic to support people relying on the benefit – in September, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) analysts warned.
“Plunging low-income families into deeper poverty and debt as well as sucking billions of pounds out of local economies is no way to level up,” said said Katie Schmuecker, deputy director of policy and partnerships for the JRF, who called the cut “the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the Second World War.”
The analysis “lays bare the deep and far-reaching impact” the cut will have on the more than 5.5 million people claiming universal credit, she added, warning it will “cut living standards”.
Many people receiving the benefit have already received letters telling them the date of their last payment at the current level, posting pictures to social media with concerns about how they will pay their bills.