Citizens Advice Dorset Urges Government Against “Devastating” Universal Credit Cut

Feb 3, 2021
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Posted by: JudyB
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Category: General
  • Local charity says 45% of people seeking its advice on benefits have never needed its support before
  • Number of people claiming Universal Credit in Dorset has risen 97% since the pandemic began

Citizens Advice Dorset has warned of the “devastating impact” of a scheduled cut to Universal Credit in April.

Staff and volunteers at Citizens Advice Dorset have helped over 2200 people with Universal Credit since March last year. Around 45% of people in Dorset seeking its advice on benefits have never contacted the charity before.

Advisers say many needing support from the benefits system have lost their job or suffered a drop in income as a result of the pandemic.

Citizens Advice Dorset, which has continued to provide one-to-one support throughout the pandemic, warns that local families could be pushed into further hardship if the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift ends as planned in April. For households in the South West, the loss of £20 a week is equivalent to over 6 days of energy costs.

In Dorset the number of people claiming Universal Credit has risen 97% since the pandemic started. This compares to a rise of 93% nationally. 

Daniel Cadisch, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Central Dorset says “We support people every day whose lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic. For many of them, Universal Credit is the lifeline that has helped pay the bills and put food on the table.

“But households across Dorset now face the devastating prospect of a £20 a week cut to their benefits in just a few short months. 

“With a tough outlook in the jobs market, we’re urging the government to continue doing the right thing and maintain the Universal Credit uplift.”

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For more information contact: Sian Smith, Comms & Development Officer, email: sians@eastdorsetcab.org.uk

We give people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward - whoever they are, and whatever their problem.

About Citizens Advice Dorset:

Citizens Advice Dorset provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities to enable them to find a way forward whatever problems they face. We value diversity, promote equality, challenge discrimination wherever we see it and aim to improve the policies and practices that affect people's lives.

Citizens Advice Dorset is located across four regions:

 

Notes to editors:

  1. Citizens Advice also runs a Help to Claim service which can support you with making a Universal Credit claim. For more information visit citizensadvice.org.uk or call 0800 144 8 444
  2. To calculate how much £20 a week is equivalent to in everyday spending, we analysed the 2018-19 Living Costs and Food Survey (the latest available data). This is a large, nationally representative survey run by the Office for National Statistics looking at household spending. To make sure we better reflect the likely experience of households on Universal Credit, we have only included households in the bottom half of the income distribution in our analysis. This is because, on average higher-income households spend more than lower-income households.

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