MPs are due to vote on the amount of Universal Credit families will receive next year in November.
The extra £20 uplift in Universal Credit that began in April is currently planned to be cut. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) estimated this would add up to 16m people losing over £1,000 a year.
Many organisations, including JRF and End Child Poverty (ECP) coalition wrote to chancellor Rishi Sunak to urge him to keep the increase.
The JRF further predicted that the loss of the extra Universal Credit could force 700,000 people into poverty, including 300,000 children.
Recent research commissioned by ECP found that child poverty has increased by over ten percentage points in some areas of the UK. The Midlands and the North East have seen particular increases since 2014/15.
Anna Feuchtwang, chair of ECP, said:
The Government can be in no doubt about the challenge it faces if it is serious about ‘levelling up’ disadvantaged parts of the country. This new data reveals the true extent of the hardship experienced by families on low incomes – the overwhelming majority of which were working households before the pandemic. The children affected are on a cliff edge, and the pandemic will only sweep them further into danger.
An ambitious plan to put this shameful situation right would be transformational for millions of children. As a matter of urgency we are calling on the Chancellor not to go ahead with planned cuts to Universal Credit which would see families lose out on £1000 a year. Given today’s data, this cut is unconscionable.
Over a hundred thousand people have signed a petition to keep the increase in Universal Credit.
The petition calls for the government to vote to maintain the uplift. A Universal Credit claimant and the JRF started the petition.
The government is further urged to extend the increase to people on legacy benefits.
Joanna, petition starter from Malvern, said:
The decision this November is between right and wrong.
The Government could keep doing the right thing, keep the lifeline and keep families afloat.
Or it could cut the lifeline, cut people’s incomes and cut families adrift.