UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s plans to cut Universal Credit by up to £20 a week have been slammed by Lee Waters MS and Nia Griffith MP.
The payment which supports people out of work and on low-incomes was extended at the beginning of the pandemic. That temporary increase is expected to end in April 2021, affecting some 6 million households across the UK, and around 7200 people in the Llanelli constituency.
A Labour motion to scrap the planned cut will be voted on by MPs this evening.
Lee Waters said: “We are going through really bumpy times at the moment, with many families in Llanelli grappling with unemployment or a loss in income due to the pandemic. By April, we are confident we will be in a better place in terms of the virus, but the economic fallout of this crisis will be with us for years. The chancellor is well aware of this, but is ploughing on regardless with a tone deaf cut that will leave families nearly £1000 a year worse off. So much for levelling up.”
Analysis by the Resolution Foundation found the hit would fall disproportionately on families living in areas the UK Government promised to “level up” at the last General Election.
The removal of the £20 a week increase would mean unemployment support in the UK falling to its lowest real-terms levels since 1991, and it’s lowest ever level relative to average weekly earnings.
Nia Griffith said: “There is no way that the paltry £20 from Rishi Sunak last April has made up for ten years of Tory cuts and freezing benefits, and it was only available for certain claimants of Universal Credit, so not only should he pledge to keep it, but he should also roll it out to others who missed out because they were on existing benefits. Many of those who will be affected by this cut have been working on the frontline throughout the pandemic, and this is a real kick in the teeth from a Tory Government which has no idea what a struggle many people have to make ends meet.”