Keep Universal Credit lifeline urges Citizens Advice Charnwood
Posted: Mon, 06 Sep 2021 12:20
'Keep Universal Credit lifeline' urges Citizens Advice Charnwood
- Benefits cut of £20-a-week set to hit 1 in 10 working age people in Charnwood.
- Local charity warns of increased debt and hardship if 'lifeline' ends in October
Citizens Advice Charnwood is urging the government against a cut to Universal Credit that would impact 1 in 10 working-age people in Charnwood.
According to the latest available figures, 42 % of residents set to see their benefits drop are families with children and 43 % are already in work.
Staff and volunteers at Citizens Advice Charnwood have helped 724 people with Universal Credit since March last year. The local charity says the £20 a week increase has been a 'lifeline' and has supported people who were already struggling to meet essential costs before the pandemic as well as those hit by Covid job losses and long term illness.
Elena worked as a support worker in Loughborough until she caught coronavirus in January. She is still off work with long covid. Elena had never claimed benefits before falling ill but when her Statutory Sick Pay ran out in July she had to sign up for Universal Credit. She now receives the standard allowance which will reduce from £411.51 to £324.84 a month if the cut goes ahead. The extra £20 enables Elena to make her monthly mortgage payments. If she loses it Elena will fall into housing debt and is in danger of losing her home.
Ian Dennis, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Charnwood, said:
"Every day, our staff and volunteers see the difference the increase to Universal Credit has made to families. It's what has helped them keep their heads above water.
"Without that extra money, we fear we'd see more people coming to us in debt, unable to pay their bills or turning to food banks because they can't afford the essentials.
"As we look to rebuild from Covid, the government must invest in the benefits system and keep this vital lifeline."
If you are worried about debt and want to know what help is available, ring Citizens Advice Charnwood enquiry line on 01509 649605 and ask to speak to an adviser or visit our website https://www.charnwoodcab.org.uk/
We give people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward - whoever they are, and whatever their problem.
- Figures on how many people will see a cut to their benefits refer to the working age population. Data from May 2021.
- The latest available data for the number of families with children on Universal Credit is from February 2021.