- Benefits cut of £20-a-week set to hit 1 in 9 working-age people in Wiltshire
- Local charity warns of increased debt and hardship if ‘lifeline’ ends in October
Citizens Advice Wiltshire is urging the government against a cut to Universal Credit that would impact 1 in 9 working-age people in Wiltshire.
According to the latest available figures, approximately 43% of residents set to see their benefits drop are families with children and 44% are already in work.
Staff and volunteers at the local charity have helped more than 2,300 people with Universal Credit since March last year. It says the £20 a week increase has been a ‘lifeline’ and has supported people who were already struggling before the pandemic as well as those hit by Covid job losses.
There's also the impact on our local economy as shops and business try to recover. We've estimated that nearly £30 million could be taken out of the Wiltshire economy by removing the £20 increase.
The charity warns a cut to the benefit this autumn - as energy bills rise with the colder weather - will see many struggle to afford their essential costs. It fears a drop in income could be particularly difficult for new benefits claimants who may be unaware of the looming cut.
Suzanne Wigmore, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Wiltshire, said:
“Every day, our staff and volunteers see the difference the increase to Universal Credit has made to families. It’s what has helped them keep their heads above water.
“Without that extra money, we fear we’d see more people coming to us in debt, unable to pay their bills or turning to food banks because they can’t afford the essentials.
“As we look to rebuild from Covid, the government must invest in the benefits system and keep this vital lifeline.”
If you're struggling to make ends meet or worried about your income - please get in touch. We're here to help.
The best way to contact us for advice is over the phone or by email.
Call freephone 0800 144 8848 (lines are open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday).
For advice by email, fill out our short enquiry form.
Citizens Advice also runs a Help to Claim service which can support you with making a Universal Credit claim.
For more information visit citizensadvice.org.uk or call 0800 144 8 444
Published 3 August 2021
- Figures on how many people will see a cut to their benefits refer to the working age population. Data from May 2021.
- The latest available data for the number of families with children on Universal Credit is from February 2021.