A LOCAL charity has warned of the ‘devastating impact’ of a scheduled cut to Universal Credit in April.
Staff and volunteers at Citizens Advice Bromsgrove and Redditch (CABR) have helped 471 people with Universal Credit since March last year. Around 68 per cent of people across the two towns 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.
CABR, 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.
It says for local households the loss of £20 a week is equivalent to two-and-a-half days food or paying for six days of energy.
A debt caseworker said: ‘’If the £20 per week uplift is ended, this will have a serious effect for many people.
“We have already seen a dramatic increase in the need for food banks due to the coronavirus crisis and the end of the uplift would increase demand significantly.
“An increasing number of people struggle to manage essential household bills and taking away £20 per week would make this situation much worse.”
Judy Sharpe, service manager at CABR 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 Bromsgrove and Redditch now face the devastating prospect of a £20 a week cut to their benefits.
“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.”
For more information contact: – Call Adviceline on: 0808 278 7890, complete an enquiry at www.cabr.org.uk/contactus.
For Consumer issues call 0808 223 1133, for Universal Credit help call 0800 1448444.