MP writes to his own Tory government amid 'alarm' at universal credit cut

MP Peter Aldous at the Save All Hallows Trust public meeting at Ditchingham Village Hall. PICTURE: J

MP Peter Aldous has written to the PM concerned about the Universal Credit cut. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

Waveney's MP has joined the growing call to keep the £20-a-week universal credit (UC) uplift.

In a joint letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Waveney MP, Peter Aldous and Carlisle MP, John Stevenson, have called for the government to reconsider October's planned cut.

Their letter said: "We do not take this step lightly, however, we have followed the issue with close interest and are alarmed to see the Government unwilling to heed the widespread warnings that are coming from all quarters."

They highlighted concerns raised by six former work and pensions secretaries, who wrote to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, warning against the move, suggesting that cuts to social security spending in the decade leading up to this crisis went too far.

The pair said a well-functioning social security system is a crucial part of giving people security.

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"The majority of people who will be impacted by this cut to Universal Credit and Working Tax are in fact already in work.

"We could see this proportion decreased through reforms to the labour market, but these kinds of changes will take time and will certainly not be in place by the end of next month, when these low paid, hardworking families will see up to £1,040 slashed from their income."

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Mr Aldous said 26pc of working-age families in Waveney will be affected by the cut.

The pair argue the uplift could be one of the government's best legacies from the pandemic, providing the "cornerstone of a social security system of which as Conservatives we can be proud."

Adding: "There are now no sensible voices calling for Universal Credit to be scrapped."

In parts of Norfolk, one in three children are living in poverty according to the latest data published by the End Child Poverty Coalition.

A government spokesperson said: “The temporary uplift to Universal Credit was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.

“Universal Credit will continue to provide a vital safety net and with record vacancies available, alongside the successful vaccination rollout, it’s right that we now focus on our plan for jobs, helping claimants to increase their earnings by boosting their skills and getting into work, progressing in work or increasing their hours.”

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