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World News

"It will lead to destitution": Christians Against Poverty plead Govt to scrap cut to Universal Credit uplift

by Heather Preston

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is urging the government to "show compassion" for the poor and reverse its decision to end the temporary £20-a-week boost to Universal Credit.

The emergency uplift, introduced to support struggling families during the coronavirus pandemic, is due to be removed at the end of September.

Tory ministers came under increasing pressure to vote with Labour MPs in support of scrapping the benefit cut in a non-binding motion on Wednesday.

Speaking to the House of Commons, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer said single parents may need to work an extra nine hours a week on top of their full time job to get back the money lost in the cuts.

Charities have also warned that removing the emergency payment could result in millions sliding into poverty as the country continues to recover from Covid 19.

CAP spokesperson Paul Walmsley tells Premier the top-up is an essential lifeline for poorer families that cannot be simply taken away.

"We're seeing a loss of jobs as furlough ends, we're seeing energy bills on the rise, food shortages. The cost of living is generally on the rise and for many people losing income during this period will be absolutely devastating…It will lead to destitution."

It comes as the UK saw its biggest jump in annual inflation on record last month.

Figures show consumer inflation rose to 3.2 per cent in August - far above the Bank of England's 2 per cent target.

Walmsley explains that the £20 increase doesn't match inflation rates and merely helps those in poverty "keep their heads above water". He feels its removal will lead many families into destitution.

"We won't see the full impact economically on households for years to come, it's going to be a long slow road to recovery. 

"We can't take way the lifeline that social security gives for people overnight. It needs to be thought about and we have to show compassion to these people who have no recourse and no other option to help themselves."

CAP is pleading with ministers to act with compassion and consider the ramifications this cut will have for many lives.

"My plea is for compassion, for those households who will be going cold and hungry during the winter months, this [uplift] is vital for them - it is a necessity.

"[The government] can't take that away from people and expect people to continue to survive without outside help from other essential services that are already at stretching point."

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