Essex Labour concern over government plans to reduce Universal Credit

Politics / Sat 9th Jan 2021 at 10:20am

Dear Secretary of State,

Essex Labour Group County Hall
Duke Street
Essex, CM1 1LX

Re: Universal Credit

8th January 2021

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We are writing to you about our concerns regarding the plans to reduce £20 from Universal Credit at a time of national emergency.

During the pandemic, as Labour councillors we have seen a huge rise in the number of people having to claim Universal Credit, most of them for the first time. Similarly we have seen a huge rise in local people relying on food bank parcels to get by and more and more families falling into debt.

While £20 does not seem much to your average person, for someone living on the breadline it can be the difference between having a meal or going without, or putting the heating on or not. The £20 rise was a huge relief to many.

Now with the country in a full lockdown and schools suspended these same families are likely to see a huge rise in their bills as energy bills will rise astronomically with online learning, running heating bills and electric bills. Food bills will also rise with children at home throughout the day. To cut this £20 now would not only be reckless but it would leave families that are already on the edge into destitution.

Low income families are also more likely to be hit if they live in low-cost private rental accommodation, where rather than a direct debit for utility bills, they depend on a meter, that costs significantly more and in the current crisis, is likely to need topping up daily.

As Labour Councillors we call on you as Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions to keep the £20 top-up introduced for Universal Credit recipients during the duration of the pandemic, ensuring a greater quality of life for those in most need.

We look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,
Cllr Ivan Henderson (Group Leader) Cllr Julie Young (Deputy Leader)

Cllr Allan Davies Cllr Dave Harris Cllr Patricia Reid Cllr Lee Scordis

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