The end of the Universal Credit uplift will have a ‘devastating’ impact on almost 60,000 people in Nottinghamshire, councillors have said.
The £20 per week boost was brought in during 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic – but the scheme will end in October, a move which has received widespread criticism.
But the Government said that by the end of September, more than £9bn will have been spent on the uplift – and it is therefore right that the extra support is now “wound down” to focus on getting people into work.
A motion was put forward by Councillor Jason Zadrozny and Councillor Samantha Deakin (both Ashfield Ind) at the Nottinghamshire County Council meeting on September 23, asking MPs for their support in reversing the decision.
A council document read: “This Council believes that failing to maintain the recent uplift will have a devastating effect on 58,770 families in Nottinghamshire at a time when they need financial support the most and will increase hardship and poverty for people who are already struggling.
“Reducing benefits will have an adverse impact on child poverty, other poverty levels and the financial health and well-being of people of the poorest in our county.
“In Nottinghamshire, this cut will adversely impact 58,770 families.”
In Nottingham city, 16,085 people will be impacted.
When the £20 per week uplift ends on October 6, people will lose more than £1000 a year – or around £86.66 per month.
Ben Bradley, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council and Mansfield MP (Cons) said: “This will be a difficult time for people and there is help out there such as the Warm Homes Hub.
“The £20 Universal Credit uplift was only ever intended as a temporary support measure, like furlough and other schemes for businesses which are coming to an end as well.”
He said the end of the uplift should not be seen as a cut and encouraged residents to seek support if they need it.
Councillors did not get time to debate the motion during the meeting.
Ashfield District Council voted to oppose the removal of the uplift during their full council meeting on September 23, saying it was a “purely an ideological attack” on the poorest residents of Ashfield and the rest of the country.
A Government spokesperson said: “As announced by the Chancellor at the Budget, the uplift to Universal Credit was always temporary. It 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 vital support for those both in and out of work and it’s right that the Government should focus on our Plan for Jobs, supporting people back into work and supporting those already employed to progress and earn more.”