Rishi Sunak served stark warning as Universal Credit changes to hit Tory ‘Red Wall’ hard

Universal Credit claimant sends message to Rishi Sunak

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The Government’s plan to end the £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit will hit conservative constituencies hard, charities and think-tanks have warned. Over 50 seats won by Boris Johnson in the 2019 election will be badly hit.

The £20 per week uplift is set to be removed in October and was introduced to provide additional support to families who struggled during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The uplift meant Universal Credit recipients were able to pick up an extra £1,040 per year.

It is believed that the scheme ending will have a devastating impact in Conservative areas.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the removal of the scheme is expected to hit hard across 413 different constituencies, with 191 of them Tory seats.

That includes 53 seats which were won by Mr Johnson from Labour in the 2019 election victory.

The Prime Minister has been warned by senior Tories on several occasions that the Government should not scrap the scheme, which will push over half a million people, including 200,000 children into poverty.

At least one in three working-age families with children will be hit by the uplift coming to an end.

The latest findings are likely to increase calls to continue with the scheme.

Deputy director of policy and partnerships at the JRF, Katie Schumueker called the plans “the biggest overnight cut” to basic social security since the Second World War.

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She went on to say that the change will have a “deep and far-reaching impact” on low-income families.

Ms Schumuecker also called on MPs to “step up and oppose this cut”.

However, continuing with the uplift would cost the Government an extra £6billion per year.

The West Midlands, North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber are expected to be the worst affected areas.

In Peterborough, a Conservative constituency, almost two thirds of working-age families with children will feel the squeeze.

It is believed that in some Labour constituencies, more than three in four families with children will be impacted.

Indeed, over 80 percent of working-age families with children in Labour seat Bradford are set to be hurt by the reduction.

Labour has stated that they want the Universal Credit uplift to continue.

A spokesperson for the Government said that the “temporary” uplift was put in place to provide help through the toughest stages of the pandemic.

He also said that now is the time to focus on helping claimants focus on “boosting their skills and getting into work”.

However, Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow work and pensions secretary has said the cut will be a “hammer blow” to millions of families.

Joe Cox, Senior Policy Officer at Jubilee Debt Campaign added that the change will “stunt any chance of a sustainable and fair economic recovery” and said that “households up and down the country will we weighed down by years of ‘long-covid debts’.”

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