28 September 2021

Universal Credit cut will be devastating to many

Millions of people will see a drastic cut to their benefits from 6 October as the government goes ahead with a cut to Universal Credit worth £20 a week.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the standard allowance of Universal Credit would be temporarily increased by £20 a week. This was done, he said, to “strengthen the safety net” during the pandemic. Universal Credit and the £20 uplift has been a lifeline for people during the pandemic, with an unprecedented number of new claims processed. 

The uplift was initially set to last 12 months but was then extended by six months. It was confirmed in July that no more extensions would be applied and from the beginning of October, the standard allowance would return to its pre-March 2020 level.

Biggest cut for generations

The cut, which has been consistently opposed by PCS, has been calculated as the biggest single overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the Second World War affecting around 6 million people. And campaigners have warned that the consequences will be devastating. It is predicted that more than 800,000 people will be plunged into poverty, including more than 200,000 children. 1 in 3 families are expected to be hit by the cut and in some areas, more than three-quarters of families with children will be affected.

Those who are working will also be impacted by this cut, including some PCS members, as 40% of Universal Credit recipients are in work. For hard-working PCS members, this is just one of the many attacks on your standard of living. You’re still overpaying into your pensions by 2%; you’ll soon be paying a further 1.25% in National Insurance contributions and the 2% inflation rate devalues your pay even further. This means in the next year alone, you will all be hit with a real-terms cut of 5.25%. For those of you who also claim Universal Credit, this figure will be even higher.

With all of this taken into account, along with the looming energy price hikes and food shortages, a cost of living crisis is intensifying and is set to affect millions of people up and down the country. PCS will be fighting for you at every turn to right these wrongs and protect your livelihoods.

To help us fight the cruel and callous cut to Universal Credit we want to hear how you’ll be affected. Complete our poll and email your story to editor@pcs.org.uk