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£20 cut to benefits to impact families’ ability to put food on the table

  • 28/06/2021

Almost half (46%) of adults in households on Universal Credit or Tax Credits are worried that the upcoming £20 cut will affect their ability to afford food, according to national poverty charity Turn2us.

The release of the research marks the start of a three month countdown to the cut, when Universal Credit claimants will lose £20 a week from their benefits. The September removal of this vital lifeline could see half a million people, including 200,000 children, pulled into poverty overnight.

For the five million households on Universal Credit, and one million on working tax credits, the concerns are widespread; nearly one in two (44%) will struggle to pay bills, one in three (29%) don’t know if they will be able to continue pay their rent or mortgage, and one in five (20%) will not be able to stay out of debt.

The financial consequences of the cut are leading to a worsening mental health crisis for people relying on social security to survive:

  • 47% are experiencing anxiety about the cut
  • 32% are experiencing depression about the cut
  • 30% are experiencing loss of sleep about the cut
  • 46% are experiencing stress about the cut

Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive at Turn2us, said:

“A decade of caps, cuts and freezes to the UK’s social security payments has left it one of the least generous in Europe. Many of us already struggle to pay for the bare essentials. If the government forges ahead with its cut to Universal Credit, it could plunge many more into hunger and debt. It’s just not right that families are left unable to afford to put food on their tables and are having to turn to food banks so they and their children don’t go hungry.

“We urge the government to not just keep the £20 benefit increase, but to make it permanent and extend it to legacy benefits. Failure to do will have a detrimental impact on people’s lives and livelihoods – and their ability to contribute to our recovery.”

The charity is working in partnership with a coalition of other organisations and lived experts as part of the #KeepTheLifeline campaign. Previous findings from the campaign show that the vast majority of the British public (59%) want the uplift to be made permanent.