- Local charity says 47% of people seeking its advice on benefits have never needed its support before
- Number of people claiming Universal Credit in Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick districts has risen by 106% and 127% respectively since the pandemic began
Local charity, Citizens Advice South Warwickshire, has warned of the “devastating impact” of a scheduled cut to Universal Credit in April.
Staff and volunteers at the charity have helped 1,177 people with Universal Credit since March last year. Around 47% of people in south Warwickshire seeking its advice on benefits have never contacted the charity before.
Advisers say many needing support from the benefits system have lost their job or suffered a drop in income as a result of the pandemic.
Citizens Advice South Warwickshire, which has continued to provide one-to-one support throughout the pandemic, warns that local families could be pushed into further hardship if the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift ends as planned in April.
For households in the West Midlands region, the loss of £20 a week is equivalent to two and a half days of food and 6 days of energy costs.
Yvonne Hunter, Chair of Citizens Advice South Warwickshire, said:
“We support people every day whose lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic. For many of them, Universal Credit is the lifeline that has helped pay the bills and put food on the table.
“But households across south Warwickshire now face the devastating prospect of a £20 a week cut to their benefits in just a few short months.
“With a tough outlook in the jobs market, we’re urging the Government to continue doing the right thing and maintain the Universal Credit uplift.”