Government failure to maintain the £20 a week Covid top-up payment for universal credit will overwhelmingly hit the incomes of working and disabled people, and put more than 700,000 into poverty, according to the Fabian Society.
If the planned cuts to universal credit and tax credits go ahead it will put 760,000 people below the poverty line over the medium term. Of these, 490,000 (64%) will be in working households where at least one adult works, many with children.
Its analysis of how the cut impacts on different households concludes that households with a disabled adult will be hit by 57% of the cuts; families with children will be hit by half ; and households where someone is a carer will be hit by 12%.
Andrew Harrop, general secretary of the Fabian Society, said:
“If ministers cut universal credit this April, they will overwhelmingly punish working families and disabled people. People in these groups have shown huge resilience during the pandemic and have done nothing to deserve this. The chancellor’s planned cut will strip £1,000 per year from 6 million families and plunge three quarters of a million people into poverty. Some politicians like to pretend that social security is just for the workshy. But the reality is that millions of working households need benefits and tax credits to make ends meet, as do disabled people who are out of work through no fault of their own. If ministers are considering a few months’ temporary extension to the universal credit uplift, that just isn’t good enough. The 2020 benefit increase must be placed on a permanent footing.”