Universal Credit is being cut for around six million people from next month. We speak to one mum who worries how she’ll afford her bills, food and Christmas once her income has dropped
Single mum Rachel* says the timing of her Universal Credit being cut couldn’t be any worse.
She is one of almost six million people who will see their benefit slashed from next month, as a £20 weekly boost to payments comes to an end.
For struggling families, this means they will lose around £80 a month, or £1,040 over the year.
Rachel, who works part-time, now fears she won’t be able to afford Christmas for her twin daughters, aged ten, with December just two months away.
Her daughters’ birthday is also just two days after Christmas.
Are you worried about the cut to Universal Credit? Let us know: [email protected]
Speaking to The Mirror, Rachel, aged 40 and who lives in Hamilton, said: “The cut is going to make it harder. I will be worse off.
“I’m going to be left stressing out and worrying about getting into debt. I’ve heard other families worrying about this too.
“It comes at a bad time with Christmas as well, and when you need to put heating on for the winter.
“I’m worried about affording presents, especially with the girls’ birthday so soon after.”
In terms of her day-to-day living, Rachel says paying her bills and putting food on the table will also be a worry.
She also fears she won’t be able to afford to get to work, as she relies on public transport.
“I don’t drive. I need to pay bus fares to get to work. That costs £17 weekly so the increase just about pays for that,” she said.
“It doesn’t help people’s mental health problems. People are going to be stressed out, wondering where they will find the extra money.”
The Mirror has spoken to other families who are going to be affected by the drop, including single mum Gemma who fears she’ll need to use her credit card to get to work.
The government has so far refused to extend the financial lifeline, despite charities warning how families could be pushed into hardship.
Worrying research from Save the Children shows how almost half of Universal Credit claimants don’t think they can live on £20 less each week.
Meanwhile, a group of 100 organisations working on the frontline with communities, led by anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, has also called on the government to stop the cut.
They say it will condemn millions of families to “immense, immediate and avoidable” financial turmoil.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the support was only designed to be temporary, while Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey this week said there are no plans to extend it.
A government spokesperson said: “Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic.
“The temporary uplift is part of a £400 billion support package and has been extended beyond the ending of restrictions.”
“Our focus now is on our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.”
* Name has been changed for the purpose of this article