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Countdown to the cliff edge: One in seven will struggle to pay bills when government support schemes end

  • 08/09/2021

One in seven of us (15%)* will struggle to pay bills and one in eight (12%) will be unable to afford food when the Covid Support schemes all come to an end this month, according to national poverty charity, Turn2us.

A new survey shows this could be the outcome of the government’s planned cut to the Covid support policies introduced at the start of the pandemic; including a £20 cut to Universal Credit, the end of the eviction ban and the closure of the furlough and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) schemes.

Turn2us is calling on the government to keep the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit and extend it to legacy benefits. Staggeringly, three million people, over half (52%) of people on Universal Credit, will struggle to pay bills if they lose this income.

Other findings from the research include:

  • 17% of the country (8.9 million people) think it is likely they will lose their job in the next six months - one in six of us
  • 8% of the country think it is likely they will lose their home in the next six months (4.6 million people) - one in thirteen of us
  • 26% of the country would not be able to make ends meet for a month if they lost their main source of income (13.8 million people) - one in four of us
  • One in four adults (26%) can't rely on friends or family for financial support (14 million people)
  • Half of the country (50%) do not want to see Universal Credit cut in September, compared to 30% who believe it should be cut.
  • A quarter (26%) of young people, 18-24 year olds, think it is likely they will lose their job in the next six months.

In addition to asking for urgent action from government to prevent this cliff edge, the charity wants to promote awareness of grants, which may give people breathing space to find their feet. The Turn2us Grants Search contains over 1,500 funds.

Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive at Turn2us, comments:

“At the end of the month, when the remaining Covid support schemes end, millions of families could be thrown into crisis and be at risk of going hungry or losing the roof over their heads. After a decade of caps, cuts and freezes, working age benefits will be at a historically low level. There are no assurances that payments will be enough to pay for rent, put food on our tables and cover essential costs.

“We can tackle this financial insecurity through promoting what is support available, raising awareness of grants that give people breathing space – and fighting for a strong social security safety net. Together, we can help prevent families from falling off a cliff edge and get back on their feet.”

Turn2us is committed to fighting income inequality and providing a lifeline for those facing financial hardship. Be a lifeline, donate now: turn2us.org.uk/cliffedge

  • £10 can help two families get vital information and support via the Turn2us helpline
  • £20 can enable a family to heat their home for a month
  • £50 can help a struggling family put food on the table for a week