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Latest research on Universal Credit cut

  • 28/09/2021
  • Author:Talulah.Kingston@turn2us.org.uk

On the 6th of October, Universal Credit is set to be cut by £20 a week. Our latest research shows this is going have a huge impact on people's ability to afford bills, rent and food.

White and pink text on a purple background that reads '1 in 2 people on Universal Credit will struggle to pay their bills once it is cut by £20 a week'

Over half (52%) of people on Universal Credit (three million individuals) will struggle to pay their bills when the £20 cut to their Universal Credit payment comes into effect.

Further to this, four in ten (42%) people (2.5 million individuals) will be unable to afford food, meaning many will be facing hard choices between heating and eating as winter approaches. This is now further exacerbated by surging energy prices, which could have a catastrophic impact on individuals and families across the country.

The charity is calling on the government to keep the £20 increase to Universal Credit and extend it to legacy benefits; and encourages anyone who is affected to get involved in the campaign by emailing their MP.  

Anna Stevenson, Welfare Benefit Specialist at Turn2us, comments:  

  “At the start of October, Universal Credit will be cut by £20 at the same time as other support schemes like furlough come to an end and energy prices rise. Ultimately this will push many people who are struggling to cover basic needs like food, rent and utility bills, over a financial cliff edge.  

“We know from our own data and insight, as well as our day-to-day work with people struggling to stay afloat, that this is a real cliff edge moment for thousands of people across the country. We urge anyone struggling with money to find out what other financial support they may be eligible for in the form of a grant - they can do this via our Grants Search tool on our website - as well as checking that their benefit entitlement is correct or whether they are eligible to receive help with bills such as council tax, water, or broadband.”

  • Our research also found how a quarter (25%) of people are unable to afford rent or mortgage payments, equating to 1.5 million individuals, if the £20 is removed. 
  • A staggering 15% of people on Universal Credit think it is likely they will lose their home in the next six months (900,000 people).  
  • These findings show the potential impact of the government’s planned £20 cut to Universal Credit. It is clear that for many the financial aftershocks of the pandemic are not yet over with 29% of people on Universal Credit thinking it is likely they will lose their job in the next six months. 

Be a lifeline

Turn2us iis committed to fighting income inequality and providing a lifeline for those facing financial hardship. If you are able, you can be a lifeline for families struggling across the UK by donating 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  

TIPS: What can you do if your income is affected?

How Turn2us can help   

Our website includes a Benefits Calculator to find out what welfare benefits and tax credits you could be entitled to, a Grants Search to find out if you might be eligible for support from over 1,500 charitable funds, and a range of information and resources to help people struggling to get by.    

If you need information and advice specifically related to benefits and the Coronavirus can visit www.turn2us.org.uk/get-support/Benefits-and-Coronavirus or call our helpline on 0808 802 2000*.    

*Our helpline is currently very busy and you may need to wait for an adviser or call back at a less busy time. If at all possible, please use the resources available on the website to free up advisers for people with who have difficulty accessing the internet.   

Note on our research: Turn2us commissioned Censuswide to conduct a nationally representative survey, of 4,003 adult respondents, between the 6th and 13th of August 2021.   

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