Major charities write to PM to halt benefit cuts

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Crisis and Mind are among 100 charities, unions and think tanks to sign a joint letter to the Prime Minister calling on him to halt planned benefits cuts within weeks.

In October the government is ending a £20 uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, which was brought in last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the joint charity campaign says this will be “the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since World War II” and threatens to plunge their beneficiaries and vulnerable people into crisis.

The move marks a stepping up in charities #KeepTheLifeline campaign to halt the benefit cuts, especially as the deadline approaches.

“Many of us provide frontline support in communities up and down our country and see first-hand the importance of our social security system,” says the joint letter, which has also been signed by Action For Children, Young Women’s Trust and the Trussell Trust.

“Life is full of crises that we cannot plan for, such as job loss or illness, and periods of lower earnings or caring responsibilities. We all need the security and stability of a strong lifeline, not just during a national crisis, but every day.”

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published the open letter on its website.

Others to sign include National Education Union and the Institute for Public Policy Research.

The letter adds that: “This cut risks causing immense, immediate, and avoidable hardship. A strong social security system is a crucial first step to building back better. We strongly urge you to make the right decision.”

Also signing the letter is youth homelessness charity Centrepoint.

“To go ahead with the planned cut to Universal Credit would be a devastating blow to thousands of vulnerable young people,” said Centrepoint’s government and parliamentary affairs lead Paul Noblet.

“The £20-a-week uplift has been a lifeline for many throughout the pandemic, especially young people facing huge youth unemployment and homelessness while relying on the benefits system. Taking this away could leave many choosing between bills and putting food on their tables. This isn’t a choice a young person – nor any person – should have to make.

“We strongly urge the government to reverse its decision, and to look carefully at how it can better support the many young people that continue to be affected by homelessness and rely on the benefits system.”

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