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StepChange urges Government to think again on £20 a week cut to Universal Credit

6 October, 2021

The Government will today withdraw £20 a week in support from Universal Credit claimants in a move StepChange says will have devastating consequences for its clients.

Before today’s cut, among StepChange clients who rely on Universal Credit, the majority (59%) had more income than outgoings each month. Now, just 28% will have enough to make ends meet. For those already experiencing a monthly budget deficit, the situation is even bleaker, with the average shortfall among clients tripling from -£40 to -£126 a month.

Responding to the cut, Richard Lane, StepChange Director of External Affairs, said:

"This is a devastating blow which will push thousands even further into debt. With £20 a week withdrawn from their budget, the monthly deficit of the average StepChange client relying on Universal Credit will triple, from -£40 to -£126. This means more people faced with agonising choices between paying their rent or feeding their families, skipping meals, or turning to high-cost credit just to get by.

"The recent creation of a £500m Household Support Fund will help people to deal with one-off emergencies. But when faced with today’s cut, along with the end of furlough, rocketing energy prices and rising inflation, millions will face a daily battle just to get by.

"We agree with the Chancellor when he says that everyone should be able to makes ends meet, but this will be immeasurably more difficult for households with £1,040 less to live on for the next year. The Government has the opportunity to set this right by assessing the impact of the cut in the coming weeks and reversing it before the damage becomes too deep."

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Useful resources for people affected by the Universal Credit cut