We’re warning of the “devastating impact” of a scheduled cut to Universal Credit in April.

Since March last year, we’ve helped 1,945 people with Universal Credit. Around 75% of people in Cheshire West and Chester seeking our advice on benefits have never contacted us before.

Many needing support from the benefits system have lost their job or suffered a drop in income as a result of the pandemic. And local families could be pushed into further hardship if the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift ends as planned in April.

In Cheshire West and Chester the number of people claiming Universal Credit has risen 79% since the pandemic started.

For households in the North West the loss of £20 a week is equivalent to almost 3 days of food costs.

Paul Nicholls, our Chief Officer, 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 Cheshire West and Chester 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.”

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