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Council offers support as Universal Credit cut comes into effect

Council offers support as Universal Credit cut comes into effect

by Danielle Thompson (October 2021)

AFTER the £20 per week cut in Universal Credit payment came into effect last week, Sefton Council is reminding people where they can find advice and support.

In response to the pandemic, a temporary £20 increase to Universal Credit payments was introduced.

The scheme officially ended on October 6, but the exact date the money will stop being paid will vary depending on which day people usually receive Universal Credit.

A high proportion of households across Sefton, including many working families, rely on Universal Credit and this number has increased as a result of the pandemic and the effect it has had locally on jobs.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for communities and housing said: “It will see many Sefton households and working families facing some difficult financial conditions.

“This cut combined with increasing household fuel bills and other rising prices could be disastrous for some, including those in rented accommodation, and the council is urging them to contact us for advice and support.

“People facing housing difficulties that could put their home at risk, who have received an eviction notice or have rent arrears should get in touch with our Homeless Prevention Service at homeless.prevention@sefton.gov.uk or by calling 0151 934 3541.

“The Homeless Prevention team work with tenants to help them maintain their tenancy or with moving on to more affordable and suitable accommodation.

“They can also assist landlords that are facing issues such as rent arrears and late or inconsistent rent payments. Landlords who have concerns about vulnerable tenants can also contact the team for support in resolving the situation.”

Cllr Hardy said that during the pandemic, Sefton Council has given out more than 4,800 payments for emergency help and made over 2,700 Discretionary Housing Payments to help people struggling with rents and bills.

She also said that more Sefton families have fallen into the absolute or relative low-income category during the pandemic and that the council has seen a rise in eligibility for free school meals.

She continued: “Sefton’s high proportion of jobs that fall into the lower paid bracket means the despite the £20 Universal Credit uplift, many working families have found themselves facing poverty.

“Our website contains information for people on Universal Credit, benefits and a range of related topics including help with rent and Council Tax and the Borough’s Foodbank Network at www.sefton.gov.uk/advice-benefits.”

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