Newark and Sherwood District Council set to write to Prime Minister urging £20-a-week universal credit uplift be re-instated
A council is set to write to the Prime Minister urging the government to re-instate the £20-a-week uplift to universal credit.
Newark and Sherwood district councillor Paul Peacock will present a motion to that effect to full council tomorrow (Tuesday).
Mr Peacock told the Advertiser the re-instatement of the uplift was a matter of eating or not eating for some families, or deciding to turn the heating on.
He added the benefit cut was just not fair considering current inflation, food shortages and fast-increasing energy bills — and that families would be down more than £200 just before Christmas.
"The number of people on universal credit in Newark and Sherwood has risen by more than 100% post-coronavirus," reads the motion.
"Here in Newark and Sherwood 9,045 people currently claim universal credit, before the covid pandemic that number was 4,363, a rise of 107%.
"Currently, Newark and Sherwood District Council has 2,056 claims for council tax support from universal credit claimants. Before the covid pandemic that number was 1,330, a rise of 55%.
"Current price inflation, food shortages and increasing energy bills disproportionately affect those on the lowest incomes in Newark and Sherwood and the United Kingdom as a whole.
"Nationally the withdrawal of the uplift will affect six in every ten single-parent families and 40% of all claimants are in work.
"Therefore, Newark and Sherwood District Council shall write to the Prime Minister urging that the £20 uplift in universal credit be maintained/re-instated to enable universal credit claimants to adapt to the recent increased costs of living.”
Donna Cumberlidge is set to second the motion.
The uplift of £20 per week (£86.67 per month) ended on October 6.
Mr Peacock warned the £500m back to work fund recently announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak did not compare to the uplift.
"It is an abysmal offer," he said. "People are really struggling to get by, particularly vulnerable people.
"Rishi said that local authorities would administer this fund, but our district council has not heard anything about it.
"Even if we did know what was going on with the proposed fund, it is not enough to cover the shortfall.
"If every council in the country wrote to the Prime Minister urging for the £20 a week to be maintained, the government would be pressured to take that measure."