Former PM Brown calls on ministers to drop universal credit cut


Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has issued a fresh call on the government not to make the £ 20 a week cut to universal credit after publishing new research suggesting more than six million people face the fuel poverty this winter.

He said analysis by Professor Jonathan Bradshaw and Dr Antonia Keung of the University of York showed that 3.4 million households – covering 6.3 million adults and children – would not be able to pay the increasingly high gas and electricity bills this winter without reducing their food bills.

The study also indicated that 840,000 people were plunged into fuel poverty this week following increases in gas and electricity prices on October 1.

Mr Brown sent the research to government ministers, calling the results “shocking”.

“York’s research is yet more proof that families still desperately need help from the government to get through, and beyond, this winter and this Covid pandemic.

“I sent the research to ministers with a note asking them to urgently rethink this week’s immoral withdrawal of £ 20 a week from Universal Credit.

“This is not the right way to save government money because it tops the hike in fuel hikes this week.

“Now is not the right time to abandon families who need government help the most.

“Saving people from destitution and allowing families to eat and heat themselves is a fundamental investment in the future of our country.

A government spokesperson said: “We have always been clear that the increase in universal credit was temporary. It was designed to help claimants get through the economic shock and financial turmoil of the most difficult stages of the pandemic, and it did.

“Universal Credit will continue to provide vital support to those who have and do not have a job and it is right that the government focus on our plan for jobs, helping people get back to work and helping those who already have a job. job to progress and earn more. “

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