The Government has now confirmed that £20 a week will be cut from Universal Credit in October.
By removing this lifeline, poverty will increase among the 6 million claimants of Universal Credit.
40 percent of these claimants – over two million people - are in work.
The government justifies the £20 cut by saying its focus is to move people into jobs, but this misses the point.
Many of those on Universal Credit (40 percent of claimants) are already in work.
2.3 million workers, many of which are key worker households, will be worse off as a result of the government’s plans to cut universal credit.
The working tax credit is also being cut, having also been raised by £20 per week in early 2020.
This cut to crucial in-work support will push more families below the breadline.
Analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows the majority of families that lose out will be working families.
These cuts are likely to worsen already record-high levels of poverty.
Just before the pandemic hit, poverty was at a record high, with 14.5 million people in poverty. The majority of these (57 per cent, or 8.3 million people) were in working households. The idea that work is a guaranteed route out of poverty is now simply not true.
The £20 increase in universal credit has been a “vital lifeline” for low-paid workers: having £20 a week less to spend will mean going without the essentials in life.
An ambitious agenda to tackle in-work poverty would include decent pay, secure work, progression opportunities for those on low incomes, and affordable childcare and housing costs. It would not include a cut to the lifeline support that working families across the country are relying on.