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600,000 will go hungry if Universal Credit cut goes ahead, Citizens Advice warns

Parliamentary reporter @TrinderMatt

AS MANY as 1.5 million people could fall into hardship this winter if Prime Minister Boris Johnson presses ahead with his disastrous decision to cut universal credit, Citizens Advice warned today.

The independent organisation’s research suggests that two-thirds of working claimants – a category that makes up about 40 per cent of the six million people on the benefit – may struggle to make ends meet when the £20-per-week uplift is removed on October 6.

Shockingly, it found that as many as 600,000 working claimants are worried that they might not be able to afford food or other basic necessities such as toiletries after the cut is introduced.

Other financial fears for those facing the cut include struggling to pay bills, getting into debt or being forced to sell belongings to make up for the shortfall, Citizens Advice said.

Tory Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch reiterated on Wednesday that the uplift had been a temporary measure, even as Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng admitted that cutting it could add to a “very difficult winter” for some families.

Joining a host of campaign groups, charities, economic think tanks and MPs of all parties, Citizens Advice warned that the cut comes at the “worst possible time” as rising energy prices and living costs put even greater strain on household budgets.

Chief executive Dame Clare Moriarty said: “Shopworkers, nursery assistants and security guards are just some of the people on universal credit seeking our help because they’re already struggling to make ends meet.

“With a cost of living crisis underway, [the government] must reverse the disastrous decision to cut this lifeline.”

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