Premiers unite to demand Prime Minister reverse universal credit cut


Calls to maintain a ‘rescue’ increase of £ 20 per week.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined with the Prime Minister of Wales and the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ‘do the right thing’ by overturning the decision to withdraw the increase of £ 20 per week from Crédit Universel.

In a rare joint intervention, leaders of decentralized nations warned in a letter that the UK government “is withdrawing this lifeline as the country faces a major cost-of-living crisis.”

They urged the Prime Minister to “consider the moral, social and economic damage” of this reduction, to “do what is right” and to reverse the decision of his government to withdraw this funding which will harm about 6 million people. across the UK.

The Prime Minister, along with Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford and Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Paul Givan and Michelle O’Neill say the decision, which takes effect on Wednesday October 6, is short-lived seen at a time when the cost of food and fuel, rising inflation, the end of the holiday scheme and the impending increase in national insurance contributions.

Premier Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I don’t think there has been anything as morally indefensible in British politics lately as the proposed reduction in universal credit.

‘At a time when we face the impact of the pandemic, Brexit and soaring costs, the removal of £ 20 a week from the lowest income households simply cannot be defended in any way. it would be.

‘The planned cut represents the largest overnight reduction in the Social Security base rate in over 70 years and would sever a crucial lifeline for countless households across the UK at a time when budgets are already facing unprecedented compression.

“This is an immoral, poorly thought out and ultimately counterproductive policy that simply needs to be stopped.

“Low-income people will find it difficult to feed their children, heat their homes and pay their rent if the reduction continues. So we united as leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to say to the Prime Minister, ‘Don’t do this.

The full text of the letter is included below and also in the attached attachment:

Dear Prime Minister

We are writing to urge you to reverse your government’s short-sighted decision to withdraw the £ 20 per week increase in universal credit.

Your government is withdrawing this lifeline as the country faces a major cost-of-living crisis. This winter, millions of people face an untenable combination of rising costs of food and energy, rising inflation, the end of the holiday scheme and an impending increase in contributions to health insurance. national insurance.

There is no reason to cut such crucial support at a time when UK residents face unprecedented household budget cuts.

Over the past month, an overwhelming majority of elected officials in Holyrood, Senedd, Stormont and Westminster have expressed opposition to this cut in universal credit, as have the four social security committees in each parliament. Each nation’s four children’s commissioners, numerous charities and faith groups have also expressed serious concerns, as have millions of people who face additional and unnecessary hardship due to this reduction in universal credit in the context of of a difficult winter.

We take note of your government’s announcement of a household support fund – recognition that too many people will be unable to make ends meet this winter. Unfortunately, a £ 500 million fund distributed on a discretionary basis is totally insufficient to cover the £ 6 billion shortfall in social security spending that will result from the reduction in universal credit.

Your government has repeatedly refused to conduct an impact assessment on the largest overnight reduction in the basic social security rate in more than 70 years.

As such, it is important that we draw your attention to the growing body of evidence and analysis regarding the damage this cut will inflict. Research by the Resolution Foundation and the Trussell Trust has highlighted the significant and devastating impact of the limit withdrawal of the £ 20 per week increase in universal credit will have on family incomes, with an associated increase in food insecurity. The Legatum Institute produced thought-provoking analysis that highlighted that the £ 20-per-week increase lifted 840,000 people, including 290,000 children, out of poverty in the second quarter of 2021. This has no significance. meaning to knowingly pursue a policy that will result in this immense and unnecessary increase in child poverty and we ask you to consider the damage and lasting costs of this reduction accordingly.

It is important to note that this will increase poverty and hardship without bringing tangible social or economic benefits. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights said – when he asked you to reverse this reduction – that for a healthy and well-skilled workforce to emerge , your government must provide adequate levels of social protection. Years of benefit freezes mean Universal Credit has failed to keep up with the rising cost of living. In addition, the rise in inflation means that a base rate of universal credit after this fall will hold less purchasing power than in March 2020.

To support a meaningful recovery from this pandemic, we must first ensure that the needs of our most vulnerable are met. This reduction threatens to undermine the recovery by reducing the ability of six million people to make ends meet.

It is not too late to reverse the decision to withdraw money from the pockets of the poorest in society at a time when they face a serious cost-of-living crisis.

We, with the full support of the Northern Ireland executive and the Scottish and Welsh governments, urge you to take into account the moral, social and economic damage of this cut, and do the right thing and come back on your decision to remove this lifeline.

A copy of this letter is sent to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State responsible for decentralized nations.


Nicola Sturgeon

Prime Minister of Scotland

Marc Drakeford

Premier of Wales

Paul Givan

Prime Minister of Northern Ireland

Michelle o’neill

Vice Prime Minister


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