Conservative MPs yesterday refused to support Labour proposals to protect 7,041 people in Stroud District from the Government’s planned £20 a week cut to Universal Credit.
Labour forced a vote in the House of Commons in a bid to overturn the cut which would hit 5,535 families in the district with a cost equivalent of the average family’s annual electricity, gas and internet bills combined. Around half of the people claiming Universal Credit locally are in employment and these proposals increase the difficulty that many working people in Stroud are facing.
The vote confirms the Prime Minister’s remarks at the Liaison Committee last week that he intends to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week, or £1040 a year, for 6 million families in April.
Labour has repeatedly called for the Prime Minister to change course and provide certainty to millions of struggling families who face a triple blow of council tax hikes, frozen pay and a cut to Universal Credit.
Child Poverty Action Group has stated the £20 uplift is essential to ensure “low-income families with children receive the support they need”. While the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has warned that the cut could see another 200,000 children pushed into poverty.
Cllr Doina Cornell (Dursley), Labour leader of Stroud District Council said
“It is unthinkable that our Conservative MP Siobhan Baillie and her colleagues chose to abstain on this vote. It shows they want to push families in Stroud into further hardship in the midst of an economic crisis.
“The Government’s chronic mismanagement of the pandemic response has caused Britain to suffer the worst recession of any major economy. Now the Government is trying to make low-income families pay as a result of their incompetence.
Local families deserve support during this crisis, not cuts”.