Thousands of Bassetlaw families could be affected by removal of £20 weekly Universal Credit top-up

Tens of thousands of families claiming Universal Credit in Nottinghamshire could lose more than £1,000 a year when an uplift to the benefit is lifted in the autumn.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 8:50 am

The Government will remove its £20 per week uplift – brought in to support struggling families through the pandemic – from October 6.

It will mean a loss of £1,040 to the current, overall annual package received by claimants, or around £86.66 per month.

The changes have been described as “crude, callous and wicked” by one Nottinghamshire council leader, potentially affecting almost 100,000 families across the city and county.

Thousands of Bassetlaw families could be impacted by the planned cut to Universal Credit.

It comes as figures from leading charity The Joseph Rowntree Foundation broke down the number of families claiming either Universal Credit or Working Tax Credits by Parliamentary constituency.

The data includes families who have children and are also claiming one of the benefits.

The Nottingham North and Nottingham East constituencies are the worst-affected areas, with 14,460 and 14,250 families respectively impacted by the changes.

This includes 8,590 and 7,000 families with children.

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A further 9,570 families claim either Universal Credit or Working Tax Credits in Nottingham South – 5,020 of which have children.

Outside the city, Mansfield constituency has the most family claimants, at 10,380, with 6,010 having children.

This is followed by 9,150 total families in neighbouring Ashfield – 5,440 of which have children.

Rushcliffe has the fewest claimants across Nottinghamshire with 4,040 families, while 8,770 total families claim in Bassetlaw, 5,600 in Broxtowe, 6,910 in Gedling, 6,390 in Newark and a further 7,530 in Sherwood.

The Government insists its priority is to help struggling families, with support packages to boost skills and increase future income.

But the removal of the uplift has concerned Councillor Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), leader of Ashfield District Council, who plans to lodge a motion at Nottinghamshire County Council opposing the changes next month.

He said: “At a time when every penny counts, our poorest families are being hit with this cruel, callous and wicked cut.

“Families have lost the jobs or taken poorer paid jobs through no fault of their own.

“Foodbank use has gone through the roof at a time when supermarket and energy prices have rocketed.

“The £20 a week may not sound a lot to many, but others are set to face the choice of heating their homes or going without food.”

However, the Government insists the uplift was a temporary measure that supported families through the pandemic.

A DWP spokesperson added: “The Government’s unprecedented measures, including the temporary uplift in Universal Credit and the furlough scheme, have supported the nation through the economic shock of the toughest stages of the pandemic.

“Universal Credit will continue to provide a vital safety net, and with record vacancies available, it’s right that we now focus on our Plan for Jobs, to support people in the long-term and help people of all ages back into the workplace.”