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Chancellor may slash Universal Credit in next month’s budget

Rishi Sunak holding a red brief case
Rishi Sunak holding a red brief case Image credit:

Thousands of families with a disabled member are concerned they will lose £1,040 a year in next month’s budget.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak could deduct £20-a-week from Universal Credit after supporting households finically struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic which has cost the Treasury more than £6billion.

But on March 3 the payment may be slashed leaving six million families hundreds of pounds worse off.

The ‘Who Loses?’ report, conducted by the Fabian Society think tank implies 95% of people who would end up in poverty if their benefit are in a household where someone is in employment or disabled.

It suggests households with a disabled adult would be hit by 57% of the cuts, which is worth £3.7bn a year and households with a carer will be hit by 12% of the cuts worth an annual sum of £700m.

Fabians general secretary Andrew Harrop told Mirror Online: “If ministers cut Universal Credit this April they will overwhelmingly punish working families and disabled people.

“People in these groups have shown huge resilience during the pandemic and have done nothing to deserve this.”

“Some politicians like to pretend that social security is just for the work shy.

He added: “But the reality is that millions of working households need benefits and tax credits to make ends meet, as do disabled people who are out of work through no fault of their own.”

The report was supported by the Standard Life Foundation, their chief executive Mubin Haq highlighted how the cuts would drastically effect on households.

He said: “Last year’s uplift to Universal Credit has been an essential lifeline for millions of families with no or low earnings through 2020.

“Even with the £20 increase, many are struggling; without it, more will face hardship.

“Our safety net needs strengthening, not further erosion.”

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “Government incompetence has left Britain with the worst economic crisis of any major economy, yet they want families to pay the price for their failure.

"Working and disabled households are really struggling and child poverty is rising but the Conservatives response has been to slash support in the midst of a crisis.

"Rishi Sunak must offer certainty to families now and secure our economy by cancelling his cut to Universal Credit, which will take £20 a week from millions of families.”

It’s expected that the Chancellor will announce the future of Universal Credit payments in next month’s budget.

The Prime Minister's press secretary Allegra Stratton said last month: "We know it runs out at the end of March, we know that households want to know what is coming next and he is going to come forward with more information shortly."

A Government spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting the lowest-paid families and those most in need through the pandemic, which is why we’re spending hundreds of billions to safeguard jobs, boosting welfare support by billions and have introduced the £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme to help children and families stay warm and well-fed during the coldest months.”

Cutting Universal Credit would see 720,000 people in financial difficulty according to the ’Who Loses?’ report.