Tomorrow (6 October) the government is due to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week, affecting nearly six million people in England, Scotland and Wales.
Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Cutting Universal Credit as we head into a very tough winter is a recipe for disaster.
“With household budgets already being squeezed from all sides, families on the lowest incomes simply cannot afford to lose £20 a week.
“If the government is serious about ‘levelling up’ it must change course. Otherwise our frontline advisers could see many more facing desperate choices between heating and eating in the months ahead.”
Research by Citizens Advice shows:
More than a third of people on Universal Credit (38%) would be in debt after paying just their essential bills if their benefits drop by £20 a week.
1.5 million working people on Universal Credit could be pushed into hardship this winter if the cut goes ahead. This includes falling behind on bills and needing to borrow from friends and family to get by.
Almost half (45%) of people earning less than £21,000 per year are worried they’ll struggle to pay their energy bills this winter.
The combined impact of a cut to Universal Credit, rising inflation and the loss of the Warm Home Discount when someone’s supplier fails could leave low income families £37.40-a-week worse off this winter.