How would you feel if your income was suddenly cut by a fifth overnight?
This October, more than 9,000 people in Epping Forest could lose “lifeline” funding as the UK government are planning to cut Universal Credit by £20 per week, the biggest overnight cut to benefit payments since the modern welfare state began.
Data from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that in May 2021, there were 9,558 Universal Credit claimants in Epping Forest – 3,544 (37 per cent) of whom were in employment.
That figure has nearly tripled since February 2020 – shortly before the coronavirus pandemic hit – when there were 3,239 people in the area claiming the benefit.
Last year, our food bank alone delivered 865 parcels to 2,548 local people and the number of people relying on food banks is likely to continue to grow if the cut does go ahead.
For the average person on Universal Credit, the cut represents a loss of 13% of income, and for some families the figure will be as high as 21%. Combined with the national insurance tax rise, this will have a devastating impact on people who are just about keeping their heads above water, forcing people to make even tougher decisions like whether to pay a bill or buy food for them or their family.
We urge you to take action and help protect the most vulnerable by joining The Trussell Trust’s campaign to #KeepTheLifeline at www.trusselltrust.org/keepthelifeline/