WOMEN will be the hardest hit when the £20 boost to Universal Credit comes to an end, with several reporting that they won’t be able to afford bills, clothe their children or even hop on the bus.
The majority of the 5.9million Universal Credit claimants are women (54%), and even with the uplift 60% say that their income is lower than their monthly bills and spending.
From October 6, the government is axing the boost, which will leave people £1,040 worse off each year.
StepChange told the Independent that the change will mean just 30% of women on Universal Credit will have a high enough monthly income to meet their needs.
The charity says that 22% of the people who sought its help last year were single parents, and that 90% of these lone parents are women.
This could leave mums in a situation where they can no longer afford to put food on the table or buy new clothes for their kids.
The situation is particularly dire, as it comes at a time when households are more squeezed than every thanks to the rising costs of essential bills such as food and electricity.
Victoria Benson, chief executive of Gingerbread, told The Independent: "People are going to have to go to food banks, people will be worrying about turning on their heating, people won't be able to afford new clothes or a winter coat… a woman told me she can't afford to pay for toddler classes and she can't even afford to hop on the bus to the park."
Single mum Rebecca says that she won’t be able to buy food once the Universal Credit boost is cancelled in October.
She admitted that the extra benefits cash has meant the difference between being able to afford essentials and having to use a foodbank
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Another single mother told the Independent that she lives paycheck to paycheck and doesn’t know how she will be able to pay her bills or essential outgoings.
Carly Newman said: "My rent has gone up. My nursery fees are going up, fuel is going up in price. My energy bills are increasing. The reality is, how does someone in my position find a spare £80 a month?”
She added that she’s struggling to do big supermarket shops and when she needs winter clothing for herself or new clothes for her son, she will have to resort to using a credit card.
Another woman, from Lincoln, said that she will struggle to afford food and bills as the the cut is the equivalent of six per cent of her monthly income. She said that she is terrified and the anxiety is affecting her sleep.
Meanwhile, a 35-year-old mum-of-five has told the Sun she doesn’t know how her family will survive a benefit reduction.
She says it will push her into debt and she will struggle to pay for bills and other essentials.
Refuge has warned that the cut to Universal Credit could mean domestic abuse victims are forced to choose between escaping dangerous situations and having enough money to survive .
The charity said that reducing benefits from October will push already vulnerable women and children further into poverty.
Charities, MPs and thinktanks have all been calling for the government to keep the £20 boost in place.
Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact at Save the Children said: “We know that almost half (47%) of those on Universal Credit – equivalent to nearly 3 million claimants – say they don't think they'll be able to live on a household budget that's £20 per week lower.
"A decision to keep this increase in place could prevent an additional 200,000 children from being pulled into poverty.
"There’s still time for the UK government to do the right thing and Keep the Lifeline."
But number 10 has so far ignored the calls and said that the cut to benefits will continue on as planned from October 6.
Ministers argue that it was only ever designed to be a temporary extra £1040 per year, and that it was always going to be cut down again.
The PM has said repeatedly he wants to focus on getting people into work – even though thousands on Universal Credit are already working.
How much will I lose?
UNIVERSAL Credit claimants will lose £20 a week from their benefit payments and over the year that adds up to a loss of £1,040.
Here’s how much money you’ll lose from your monthly payments, with rates for the 2021-22 tax year, before and after the uplift:
- For those single and aged under 25, the standard allowance with the uplift is £344 – after the uplift is cut that will fall to £257.33
- For those single and aged 25 or over, the standard allowance with the uplift is £411.51 – after the uplift is cut that will fall to £324.84
- For joint claimants both under 25, the standard allowance with the uplift is £490.60 (for both) – after the uplift is cut that will fall to £403.93
- For joint claimants where one or both are 25 or over, the standard allowance with the uplift is £596.58 (for both) – after the uplift is cut that will fall to £509.91
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