SKELMERSDALE County Councillor Julie Gibson, the Labour Group Shadow cabinet member for economic regeneration, has renewed calls for the Government to scrap its planned changes to Universal Credit which will see the £20 per week uplift cut at the beginning of October.
The uplift which was introduced at the start of the pandemic, has been a lifeline to many and there are fears that many families will be forced into poverty as they see incomes drastically reduced.
Cllr Gibson said: “Back in February, the Full Council meeting at Lancashire County Council, unanimously backed my motion to Government to listen to the concerns of welfare organisations, charities, local councillors and other partners, to keep the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit.
“The Government listened and extended the lifeline but now, again, we face the very real threat that the uplift will be cut.”
She continued: “Figs from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation* show that 6.2 million families across the UK will feel a £1,040 hit to their yearly incomes almost overnight and 500,000 people – among whom 200,000 are children – are at real risk of falling into poverty and deprivation.
She added: “Across Lancashire we are still seeing small increases in the rate of unemployment which currently stands at 5.0% (figs as of July 2021 www.nomisweb.org.uk) but with the economic uncertainty over the fall-out of Covid we sadly expect that this figure will increase in the coming months.
“Many of these people will move on to claiming Universal Credit at a time when it is being cut by the Government.”
Cllr Gibson said: “As we start to re-build our society, it would make no sense to weaken it; having faced the uncertainties over Covid, Lancashire residents now face uncertainty over unemployment and potential greater hardship.
“I urge the Government to listen to its Councillors, partner organisations and residents and “keep the lifeline.”