More than 3million children will be in households hit by the £20-a-week benefits cut – enough for one in every second of the month
Boris Johnson’s Universal Credit cut will hit one child every SECOND as he prepares to address the Tory faithful today.
Bleak research shows the cut – formally triggered today – will have a vast toll on children across the UK after the PM refused to cancel it.
Mr Johnson has defended his decision to end a £20-a-week Covid ‘uplift’, saying the state should not “subsidise” low pay.
But Save the Children analysis of government figures show there are 3.5million kids in 1.9million households affected by the cut.
With the cut kicking into payments over a month, between October 13 and November 12, that is more than one child hit per second.
Many of those are children of working parents, with 40% of all claimants in work.
Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
Parents have warned the charity it will be more difficult to afford essentials like food, fuel and clothes for their children.
One, 36-year-old Rebecca, said: “I’m already feeling the pinch and the cut hasn’t even happened yet. The winter is already a really difficult time. We’ve got winter clothes to consider. Energy bills are going up and I can’t have a child freezing cold.
“So we’re going to have to cut back on food. We will have to resort to food banks and have the heater on less.
“It puts a strain on my daughter as she knows that we’re poor. That’s horrible, a child shouldn’t be worrying about money.
“It’s down to pennies. What can I afford with a couple of pounds this week? That’s what we’re talking about.”
Gwen Hines, Chief Executive of Save the Children, said: “The UK government’s decision to go ahead with this cut will devastate families up and down the country. Over the next month, every second that passes will see another child pushed towards poverty.
“People we work with tell us they’ve been relying on this £20 lifeline to buy essentials like food and clothing for themselves and their children. Without it, tens of thousands more children are facing a cold and hungry winter. And we know the impacts of childhood poverty can last a lifetime.
“It’s astonishing that ministers have chosen to inflict the most significant social security cut in memory at the same time that families are grappling with a cost-of-living crisis. Inflation, increases in energy prices, fuel shortages and tax hikes are all taking their toll on family finances. For many, this will be a perfect storm of falling income and rising costs.
“Government must change course. In his budget announcement later this month, the chancellor should reinstate the £20 lifeline. Children’s futures are depending on it.”
Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham said: “Hearts will sink in struggling families at the reality of a cut which leaves people without enough to live on. Millions of parents will be asking themselves how they will manage.”
Helen Barnard, Deputy Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “Today the Prime Minister has imposed the biggest ever overnight cut to social security. It makes a mockery of his mission to level up.”
Minesh Patel, Head of Policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Many people during cancer treatment face the double whammy of a drop in income from being too ill to work and higher costs for outgoings like energy and travel. For them, Universal Credit is a critical lifeline.”
Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Cutting Universal Credit as we head into a very tough winter is a recipe for disaster.
“With household budgets already being squeezed from all sides, families on the lowest incomes simply cannot afford to lose £20 a week.”
Boris Johnson yesterday claimed there is “no alternative” to his plans to slash Universal Credit in a grim echo of Margaret Thatcher.
The Prime Minister revived the phrase used by the hard-line Tory leader four decades ago as part of his new justification for plunging millions people into more poverty.
Mr Johnson has argued the cut is fair because businesses should put up wages – despite the risk of inflation – rather than taxpayers subsidising them through the welfare system.
But the PM was challenged by broadcasters saying the transition to higher wages would take years while families face a cut and empty shelves this Autumn.
He told ITV: “In a famous phrase, there is no alternative. There is no alternative.
“The UK has got to, and we can do, much, much better by becoming a higher wage, higher productivity economy. We’ve got a fantastic supply chain, fantastically clever people work on our logistics, and they will fix all these problems.”