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Half of Universal Credit claimants say they’ll struggle to survive when benefit is cut

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Save the Children is calling on the UK government to abandon its plans to cut Universal Credit this autumn amid fears doing so could push hundreds of thousands of people into poverty.

Research by the charity found almost half (47 per cent) of those on UC – equivalent to nearly 3 million people – don’t think they’ll be able to survive when the £20 uplift is scrapped in October.

Dan Paskins, director of UK impact at Save the Children, said: “The £20 increase is a lifeline for families. People we work with tell us that they’re relying on it to buy essentials like food and clothing for themselves and their children. Without it, hundreds of thousands more people will be pushed into poverty.”

The government increased Universal Credit payments by £20 each week at the start of the pandemic. This uplift was due to end in April 2021, but was extended by six months in the Budget in March despite widespread opposition.

According to the survey by Save the Children, single parents are the most concerned about their finances when the UC rules change, with over half (52 per cent) saying they don’t think they can live on £20 less per week.

Three in five (61 per cent) people surveyed said it would be harder to afford food after the cut, while nearly half (48 per cent) said it would be harder to cover essential bills.

Some 43 per cent said paying for clothing would be more difficult and 37 per cent said they would struggle to pay for children’s books and toys.

The lifting of Covid restrictions has not taken pressure off low-income households, according to the findings.

Two in five (39 per cent) respondents said it had become harder to afford basics such as food, rent and bills in the last six months, while a further one in four (26 per cent) said things have stayed the same.

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