Foodbanks braced for increased demand after Universal Credit cut

Weston families to miss meals due to Universal Credit cut

The Trussell Trust believes families will skip meals as a result of stopping Universal Credit's £20-per-week uplift. - Credit: Trussell Trust

Families across North Somerset will "skip meals" as a result of the Government's decision to stop its Universal Credit uplift, according to the Trussell Trust charity.

A £20-per-week uplift was introduced during the start of lockdown to support unemployed residents as well as furloughed and low-income workers but this will be scrapped next month.

The Trussell Trust, which supports Clevedon District Foodbank has told the Times that the cuts will have a devastating impact on residents.

More than 10,000 Weston residents to lose money due to Universal Credit cut.

More than 10,000 Weston residents depend on Universal Credit. - Credit: Trussell Trust

Chief executive, Emma Revie said: "Cutting this lifeline will be a devastating blow for thousands of people across the South West already struggling to make ends meet.

"These are families already caught in impossible situations who worry every day about switching on the heating and feeding their children. Families who are nearly at breaking point but just about managing to keep their heads above water."

Clevedon District Foodbank trustee, Alison Kember, expects an influx of residents to come forward in need of its services.

Mrs Kember said: "Clevedon and District Foodbank is incredibly grateful to all its donors for their consistently amazing generosity over the past 18 months, which has allowed it to massively support local families across Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead, and Yatton throughout lockdown, school closures and school holidays.

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"Now, however, it fears more people will need support as £20 a week is cut from Universal Credit, just as furlough ends and redundancies potentially rise, bills are going up, winter is coming, and some families already can’t afford the basics."

The foodbank has distributed more than eight tonnes of food and essentials during the Covid pandemic.

In North Somerset, 4,504 people depend on Universal Credit. Of those, 2,002 (44.4 per cent) are currently employed.

The cuts coincide with the recent announcement that Boris Johnson would break the Conservative Party manifesto and introduce a 1.25 percentage point rise in National Insurance - equivalent to roughly a 10 per cent tax hike depending on earnings.

For more information on how to support Clevedon District Foodbank or to gain access to its services, log on to www.clevedondistrict.foodbank.org.uk

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