Universal Credit cut

The cut of the £20 Universal Credit uplift, which many households in Salford relied on, has had a ‘devastating’ effect on the city.

Just three weeks after the uplift was taken away, the consequences are already starting to be felt.

Andrew Willets, who lives in Swinton, is one of the many people being affected by the cut.

He said: “I applied for universal credit back in May because it was becoming clear to me that I was no longer able to work due to being diagnosed with long covid.

Andrew Willets, 47

“Not being able to work meant that the extra £20 helped me out a lot, I had just moved into my mum’s house, and I needed to pay for rent, my car, and gas bills.”

“Since losing this £20, I’ve now got to make the choice of giving everything up, just so I can pay my mum the rent money.”

According to Joseph Roundtree Foundation, due to the cut, it is expected that around 5.5 million low-income families will lose £1,040 from their annual income.

It has also been reported that the typical household is also set to see their energy bills rise by £139 to £1277 a year.

Andy continued: “I didn’t think things would get this bad so quick, the more I try and work out how I am going to afford things, it keeps me up at night.

“If I didn’t have my mum, I would be homeless, I wouldn’t be able to afford anything, I’m giving up my car, I can’t even think about Christmas right now, it’s honestly just so depressing.”

“It’s going to have devastating effects”

Foodbanks in Salford are also reporting that since the Universal Credit cut, more people have been coming to them for help.

Pete Simms, who volunteers at Salford Food Parcels, said: “We’re already seeing a large number of people coming to us for short term aid, they are dealing with in-work poverty, and in Salford itself that’s a real issue.

“We recognise that people should have food security and that food is a human right, so we are going to be working our best, it may be tight some weeks, but these people will be fed.

“We are a city which does struggle with poverty, but I think we are going to see people drowning.

“I think we are literally going to see people drowning, with no hope, unless places like this can stay open and give them what they can.”


Design by Emmie Norton

Sarah Whitehead, who works for the Salford Poverty Trust Commission, explained how crucial the uplift was for the people of Salford: “The 20-pound lift has been a lifeline to people and families throughout this pandemic and now situations have only worsened for people who are struggling financially.

“Throughout winter, we already know that people are having to choose between heating and eating.

“Even now, I think the choice to eat and not heat is still a difficult one and people still don’t have the ability to feed themselves and meet just their basic daily needs.

“So, to take away the £20 uplift whilst we’re having such inflation in the energy costs having so much of an issue with food shortages, it is going to have devasting effects.”

The Department of Work and Pensions have said that the uplift was only a ‘temporary intervention’ and that now they want to ‘shift the focus strongly into getting people into work, jobs’.

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