Plea for Prime Minister to stop cut to Universal Credit

Caritas Westminster has joined more than a thousand church leaders to ask the Prime Minister, to stop the planned cut to Universal Credit.

In a letter, coordinated by Church Action on Poverty and Christians Against Poverty, they call on the Government to "choose to build a just and compassionate social security system that our whole society can have confidence in".

This letter has been signed by John Coleby, Director of Caritas Westminster and Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Chair of the Westminster Diocese Justice and Peace Commission.

The full text of the letter to the Prime Minister and all signatories can be found here.

On 6th October, the Government is expected to reduce Universal Credit by £20 a week.

This would be the “biggest overnight cut to social security in the last 70 years, taking away £1,040 a year from low income families”, explained Anna Gavurin, Coordinator of the Caritas Food Collective at Caritas Westminster.

She said: “Even before the cut comes in, these clients are unable to get by on the state support they receive and have to turn to food banks for emergency help. The cut will only push them further into poverty and insecurity.”

Caritas Westminster has seen high levels of food insecurity and parish and school food relief projects working hard to ensure no one goes hungry.

Between April and June 2021 more than 50,000 meals and food parcels were distributed by just 35 parishes and schools. 43% of these food relief projects are reporting low income as one of the top issues affecting those they serve.

The planned cut to Universal Credit comes at the same time as the furlough scheme ending, energy prices rising, a shortage of hauliers affecting the UK’s food supply, and an upcoming increase to National Insurance.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation predicts that with the cut to Universal Credit and the rising cost of living the average low income family will soon be £1,750 worse off a year.

Caritas Westminster is encouraging people to write to their MPs and ask them to stop the cut to Universal Credit and keep the lifeline it provides.

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