UK Credit

Workers in South West England hit hardest by cut in universal credit | Universal credit

South West England will have the highest proportion of low-income workers hit by a £ 20-a-week cut later this year in universal credit payments, according to TUC analysis that illustrates the widespread culture of lows Cornwall salaries. in Gloucestershire.

More than four in ten universal credit applicants in the southwest have low-paying jobs that qualify them for benefits, a higher percentage than in any other region, the union said.

The rate of applicants who were employed in May was 42.1% in the South West compared to 41.2% in the East Midlands, the second most affected, and 36.7% in the West Midlands .

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said 2.3 million working families, as well as those dependent solely on benefits, would see their incomes drop by more than £ 1,000 a year if the government continued with a £ 20 project per year. -week of universal credit reduction from October.

The report also highlights the impact on individual parliamentary constituencies, revealing that the Prime Minister’s seat in West London, Uxbridge and South Ruislip has 9,546 UC applicants of which 3,665 are working, or 38.4 % of total.

In Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Richmond constituency in Yorkshire nearly half, 48%, of people on universal credit are employed.

The TUC said: “This shows that even in the wealthiest parts of the UK, the reduction in universal credit will have a big impact on low-paid workers.”

About 6 million families are claiming the Working Families Tax Credit and its predecessor, double the figure before the pandemic. More than 500,000 people were forced to file a claim for just nine days in March 2020 as the virus began to spread and the government announced the first lockdown.

That same month, ministers agreed to a £ 20 increase in universal credit and tax credits as a one-year measure to help new applicants adjust to the additional costs of the pandemic.

Estimates suggest it has helped 700,000 people stay above the poverty line during the pandemic. Polls have shown the public to support it being made permanent.

Earlier this month, Therese Coffey told MPs the government had honored its commitment to extend the hike for six months. Now that the economy is opening up, she said, DWP support “should be heavily focused on getting work and employment.”

Although there was no up-to-date solid data showing claimants forfeiting benefits in significant numbers, Coffey said internal DWP figures suggested there were 2.1 million job seekers. on universal credit, up from 2.5 million in March, and that number was shrinking week by week.

Trade unions, charities and some Tory MPs have criticized the move, saying millions of people will still be in precarious jobs in October and unable to cope financially after a benefit cut of more than £ 1,000 a year.

In a separate report, also scheduled to coincide with the summer parliamentary recess, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said more than 500,000 people, including 200,000 children, will be pushed into poverty when the government puts in place what it needs. called “the biggest reduction in the basic social security rate since World War II”.

About 6 in 10 single-parent families will see their income fall by the equivalent of £ 1,040 a year after the befit reduction, he said, imposing “the biggest overnight cut in the base security rate social since the founding of the modern economy. Welfare State “.

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