Speaking during yesterday’s Labour Party parliamentary debate on the Government’s planned cut to Universal Credit, Imran Hussain MP has warned that the cut would plunge hundreds more families in Bradford into poverty.

The uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits was introduced by the Government in March 2020 in response to the financial challenges faced by low-income households during the Coronavirus crisis, and increased the level of payments for the standard allowance by £20 a week, amounting to just £1,000 a year.

However, the Government now plan to remove the uplift and cut Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits to their previous rates at the end of the 2020/21 financial year at the start of April 2021, despite there still being no end in sight for the current crisis and low-income families continuing to face immense financial pressures.

During the parliamentary debate, Imran defended Labour’s plans to keep the increase in place beyond April, denouncing calls that to do so would be a ‘splurge’ or a ‘stunt’ and stating that policies which ensure that the poorest and vulnerable are properly supported are never a splurge, stunt or waste. He also warned that to pursue the cut would leave families supported by Universal Credit substantial worse off, and would plunge many into poverty and deprivation.

Across the whole Bradford District, almost 50,000 households, over 13,000 of which are in Bradford East , were reliant on Universal Credit in August 2020 to make ends meet, with almost 19,000 single or coupled households supporting children. A further 27,000, households, of which 24,000 were households with children were also claiming Working Tax Credit in April 2020.

Speaking on his call to keep the increase to Universal Credit, Imran said:

“During what is the worst recession for 300 years, it simply makes no sense for the Government to be cutting Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits for some of the most vulnerable families, and I cannot be clearer about how damaging this cut would be for Bradford, with families already teetering on the edge dragged into poverty.

“During the Coronavirus pandemic, we have also seen many more families who never expected to need support now finding themselves reliant on Universal Credit because they were shut out of financial support schemes, and in many cases, these families have joined others across Bradford who have lost almost everything.

“Instead of leaving families in limbo at an already uncertain time when they don’t know how they will put food on the table, keep a roof over their head or heat their homes from one week to the next, the Government must keep the extra £20 a week for low-income families, and give some much-needed financial security.”

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