Citizens Advice Westminster urges government against “devastating” Universal Credit cut
The number of people claiming Universal Credit in Westminster has risen 154% since the pandemic began.
The local Westminster charity has warned of the “devastating impact” of a scheduled cut to Universal Credit in April.
Staff and volunteers at Citizens Advice Westminster have helped nearly 1300 people with Universal Credit since March last year. Around 67% of people in Westminster seeking its advice on benefits have never contacted the charity before.
Advisers say many needing support from the benefits system have lost their job or suffered a drop in income as a result of the pandemic.
Citizens Advice Westminster, which has continued to provide one-to-one support throughout the pandemic, warns that local families could be pushed into further hardship if the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift ends as planned in April.
In Westminster the number of people claiming Universal Credit has risen 154% since the pandemic started.This compares to a rise of 99% nationally.
Joanna Cain, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice Westminster said:
“We support people every day whose lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic. For many of them, Universal Credit is the lifeline that has helped pay the bills and put food on the table.
“But households across Westminster now face the devastating prospect of a £20 a week cut to their benefits in just a few short months. For households in Westminster the loss of £20 a week is equivalent to over 2 days of food or over 6 days of energy.
“With a tough outlook in the jobs market, we’re urging the government to continue doing the right thing and maintain the Universal Credit uplift.”
Clients who need advice can call us on our freephone
0808 278 7834 10am-4pm Monday to Friday.
Citizens Advice also runs a Help to Claim service which can support you with making a Universal Credit claim. For more information visit citizensadvice.org.uk or call 0800 144 8 444