Thousands of north London families could be 'plunged into poverty', charity warns
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Thousands of families in north London could be left in “serious financial hardship” if the government goes ahead with plans to cut benefits next month, according to new analysis.
A report by poverty charity Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that six million low-income families across the UK will lose more than a thousand pounds from their annual income, allowing 500,000 people to be swept into poverty, including 200,000 children.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, the government increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £20 a week.
However, this increased rate is due to come to an end on October 6.
This is part of the government's Plan for Jobs scheme, which aims to help people "boost their skills and get into work, progress in work or increase their hours", a spokesperson said.
The data shows north London constituencies could be badly affected by the cuts- in Brent Central, 36 per cent of families are in receipt of universal credit or working tax credits, a total of 23,690 families including 11,270 with children.
Brent North has 15,010 families currently in receipt of the affected benefits, including 8,410 with children.
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Many Hackney families could also lose significant income if the government’s plans go ahead; Hackney North and Stoke Newington has 19,440 families who receive the benefits, including 9,820 with children.
In Hackney South and Shoreditch, 47pc of the constituency’s families with children would be affected by the proposed plans, more than 7,420 in total.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation warned next month’s changes will impose the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the foundation of the modern welfare state.
Data shows that families with children will be disproportionately impacted and six in 10 of all single-parent families in the UK will be impacted.
The charity’s deputy director of policy and partnerships, Katie Schmuecker, said the analysis shows the “deep and far-reaching impact” that cutting Universal Credit will have on millions of low-income families across Britain.
Katie said: “MPs from across the political spectrum are already expressing their deep concerns about this planned cut.
“Now is the time for all MPs to step up and oppose this cut to their constituents’ living standards.”
Leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer’s Holborn and St Pancras constituency has 13,380 families in receipt of universal credit or working tax credits, meaning 5,500 with children could lose out.
The data also suggests that 5,070 families with children in Hornsey and Wood Green are in receipt of the benefits, out of 12,790 families.
In former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North seat, 12,410 families are in receipt of universal credit or working tax credits, with 4,990 families with children affected.
Ms Schmuecker added: “Plunging low-income families into deeper poverty and debt as well as sucking billions of pounds out of local economies is no way to level up.
“It’s not too late for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to listen to the huge opposition to this damaging cut and change course.”
In the Westminster North constituency, there are 11,740 families receiving the benefits, including 4,550 with children, who could lose £20 a week from next month.
Finchley and Golders Green’s 11,430 families in receipt of the benefit would see a loss in their income, including 5,200 with children, as would 11,370 families in Hampstead and Kilburn, including 4,490 with children.
11,090 families would also be affected in Islington South and Finsbury, including 4,520 with children.
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.”