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Cutting Universal Credit by £20 a week will remove vital safety net, says CHC

The £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit has been the difference between paying the bills and putting food on the table for housing association tenants in Wales – but the majority of them do not know it is temporary and is due to expire at the end of September.

Those are the key findings of a new report from Community Housing Cymru (CHC), which is calling on the UK government to retain the uplift as a permanent feature of Universal Credit for all current and future claimants.

The report reveals that the £20 uplift added during the Covid-19 pandemic has been transformational for many housing association tenants in Wales. From October, UK government plans to remove that £20 extra each week from Universal Credit payments, leaving families once again worrying about making ends meet.

CHC is urging the Department for Work and Pensions to urgently communicate the specific timing of any changes to Universal Credit to claimants, as it’s revealed that the majority of tenants who depend on the additional £20 per week were not aware that it was temporary.

Stuart Ropke, chief executive at Community Housing Cymru said:

‘Our report lays bare the difference the additional £20 per week has had on people, and is a stark reminder of the realities many face when it comes to the choice between paying bills and feeding themselves and their families.

‘We are grateful to all the tenants who shared their experiences of Universal Credit with their housing associations as part of this research into the real term impact of the uplift. What is alarming is that many people who responded are currently in work, but are still struggling to make ends meet on low wages. Others are seeking work, and need support with paying the bills in order to do so.

‘The UK government must keep this uplift of £20 per week, and listen to the experiences of claimants and what the planned reduction will signify. The additional £20 per week has proven vital to those who claim Universal Credit, providing the support that was so desperately needed even before the pandemic. Removing it will only push people into debt.’


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