North East housing associations are calling on the Government to #KeepTheLifeline and reconsider plans to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week.
Housing associations, including ourselves, Karbon Homes and Believe Housing, with more than 140,000 homes located across the region, have revealed the extent of the damage of cutting the standard allowance by £80 a month.
The income of their 39,949 residents claiming Universal Credit in the region will collectively fall by £798,980 a week. That’s £41,546,960 a year.
Analysis by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) shows that 35.6% of Universal Credit recipients in the North East are in work and it is working families who will make up the majority of those most affected. If the cut goes ahead, families could find themselves a staggering £150 per month below the poverty line.
Susie Thompson, Executive Director of Housing at Gentoo, said: “The past 18 months have been financially challenging for thousands of families in Sunderland and as a result we have seen an increase in the number of tenants accessing our free money and debt advice service. Many of our tenants were struggling to make ends meet long before the pandemic and for them that £20 uplift helped to avoid the worst outcome in many situations.
“As the country struggles to get back on its feet, we need a welfare system that supports those most at risk of being below the poverty line. Gentoo have heavily invested in services that support our tenants and our Money Matters and Universal Credit team are always on hand to offer financial support, guidance and advice.”
According to analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the Government’s plans to cut Universal Credit in October will pose the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the foundations of the welfare state.
Half a million more people are set to be pulled into poverty across the UK and families with children will be disproportionately impacted.
If you are are a Gentoo tenant and need help with monthly budgeting or if you are worried about debt, call our Money Matters Team on 0300 123 2004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.