‘This is not the time!’ – Universal Credit cuts ‘will clobber working families’

On Sky News this morning, Kay Burley questioned Shadow Communities Secretary Steve Reed about the Universal Credit cuts and the alternative of Income Tax increasing. He said: “This is not the time to be cutting Universal Credit.

However, during the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s Budget announcement earlier this year, he confirmed the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit would come to an end by October 2021.

Mr Reed continued: “On the points about how do you pay for it – well don’t forget this is the Government that wasted £2billion on crony contracts to their wealthy donor friends, they wasted £10billion on a track and trace system that never worked properly.

“If the government would stop haemorrhaging public money on schemes like that then perhaps, they wouldn’t be having to make excuses today about why they are clobbering working families again and again and again.

“It’s not just with Universal Credit, it’s the National Insurance contributions increases, and the Council Tax increases this year and again coming next year.

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“They just turn again and again and again to clobber working families that simply can’t afford it.

“I would support the government not wasting money and then supporting those families that need this money to survive.”

Business Minister Paul Scully has said both income tax and fuel duty would need to rise to keep the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift.

On Sky News this morning he said: “The Chancellor… will look at the whole aspect of public finances in the Budget and the Spending Review that is coming up.

Its latest research shows two thirds (67 percent) of working claimants say they’ll face hardship if the cut goes ahead.

This includes struggling to pay their bills, getting into debt or being forced to sell belongings to make up for the shortfall in their income.

Around one in four working claimants, equivalent to 600,000 people, are worried they might not be able to afford food or other basic necessities like toiletries.
Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “With energy bills set to rise and family finances already stretched to the limit, this cut is coming at the worst possible time.

“Shop workers, nursery assistants and security guards are just some of the people on Universal Credit seeking our help because they’re already struggling to make ends meet.

“The government has shown in this pandemic that it’s willing to support people through hard times. With a cost-of-living crisis underway, it must reverse the disastrous decision to cut this lifeline.”

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