One in three working-age families with children to be hit by cut to Universal Credit

One in three working-age families with children to be hit by cut to Universal Credit

A total of 413 parliamentary constituencies across Great Britain will see over a third of working-age families with children hit by the planned £1,040-a-year cut to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit on 6 October 2021.

According to a new report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, of these 413 constituencies, 191 are Conservative – 53 of which were newly won at the last general election or in a subsequent by-election.

In 52 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies, a quarter of families with children will be impacted by the reduction to the benefit, the charity found.

Glasgow constituencies make up half of the top ten Scottish constituencies to be most affected, with Glasgow Central topping the list with 63% of families currently in receipt of Universal Credit.

Other constituencies with the highest number of benefit recipients are Glenrothes (49%), Dundee West (49%) and Dumfries and Galloway (44%).

In total, the reduction is expected to impact over 450,000 families in Scotland.

The independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation has used the latest official data released last week to produce a comprehensive analysis of which parliamentary constituencies will be most affected by the scheduled cut to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit.

The looming cut will have the most severe impact in Yorkshire & the Humber, the North East, North West and West Midlands.

Katie Schmuecker, deputy director of policy & partnerships at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “We are just over a month away from the UK Government imposing the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the Second World War. This latest analysis lays bare the deep and far-reaching impact that cutting Universal Credit will have on millions of low-income families across Britain.

“MPs from across the political spectrum are already expressing their deep concerns about this planned cut. Now is the time for all MPs to step up and oppose this cut to their constituents’ living standards.

“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. It’s not too late for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to listen to the huge opposition to this damaging cut and change course.”

Deputy director of the JRF Chris Birt added: “It is a scandal that the UK Government’s strategy for economic recovery is to plunge families who are already struggling into deeper poverty and debt.

“Now is the time for MPs and MSPs of all stripes to step up and oppose this cut to their constituents’ incomes. It’s not too late for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to change course and reverse this decision.”

SNP MP David Linden, who represents Glasgow East, said: “It is a damning indictment of this Tory government that many families still cannot make ends meet even when they have a job. Rishi Sunak must U-turn on the cuts and instead make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.”

Glasgow MSP and Scottish Labour’s social security and social justice spokesperson Pam Duncan-Glancy commented: “This sets out exactly just how devastating this cut will be. We know that this money is used for food and basics like travel to work or school. Taking it back will do untold damage to communities, especially in Glasgow but right across Scotland.

“The UK government must think again and keep the uplift.

“If they press ahead with this it will return social security support to the lowest level in decades and will end once and for all any pretence that they care about a just recovery from the pandemic.

“The Scottish Government can’t sit on their hands either. They must urgently use the powers they have here in Scotland to immediately double the Scottish Child Payment and work quickly towards a Minimum Income Guarantee.”

A spokesperson for the DWP said: “The temporary uplift to Universal Credit 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 a vital safety net and with record vacancies available, alongside the successful vaccination rollout, it’s right that we now focus on our Plan for Jobs, helping claimants to increase their earnings by boosting their skills and getting into work, progressing in work or increasing their hours.

“The Scottish Parliament has significant welfare powers and can top-up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility.”

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