COMMENT: Plight that needs to be heard and understood

Conservative supporters would find it hard to deny that the withdrawal of the Universal Credit uplift has come at a very bad time.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 12:00 am

Even Baroness Philippa Stroud, the Tory peer who helped to design the system, wants to see a vote on the end of the £20-a-week benefit top-up. She says taking away the cash is a 'really bleak day' for many families.

Introduced to help people struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic, it is now being stopped just as the cost of living is increasing.

Food and petrol prices are going up, while we're also facing bigger energy bills just as we head into the colder months.

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The Bank of England has forecast that inflation will rise above four per cent, meaning what money people do have will not stretch as far.

We reveal today how the reduction of Universal Credit this month will affect one in 10 people across Portsmouth, with more than 20,000 people in Portsmouth set to each lose around £1,000 a year as a result.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that in July, half of these people were not in work and relied solely on the benefit payments.

Taking away the £20 a week increase introduced last year will hit them hard, forcing them to rely on food banks and pantries. Charities helping those in need expect increased demand.

The government insists the top-up was always meant to be temporary and that it has to control spending.

But the problem is that those making the decisions in Whitehall live comfortable lives, far removed from those struggling in food and fuel poverty.

We urge MPs to be the voice of those in their constituencies who will suffer from the uplift being removed.

Because their plight needs to be heard and understood by those in power.