New analysis from social justice think tank The Bevan Foundation shows the staggering cost of the Universal Credit cut to local families and the local economy. The cut, which will see more than eight thousand recipients of Universal Credit in Powys lose £1,040 a year, will cost the local economy £9.6 million.
The analysis comes as many Conservative and Independent County Councillors refused to back a Welsh Labour motion to oppose the cut.
Welsh Labour Councillors had asked Powys County Council to oppose the cut to Universal Credit which will remove the £20 per week uplift from the lowest paid households in the County.
The motion called on Powys County Council to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Work and Pensions Secretary and the Prime Minister to oppose the planned cut to Universal Credit but many Conservative and Independent Councillors blocked the plan.
Cllr Liz Rijnenberg (Brecon, St Mary) said:
“The Universal Credit cut is cruel. It will push families in Powys into poverty and debt.
“I am disappointed that many Conservative and Independent Councillors in Powys failed to recognise that especially now of all times with the squeeze on everyone’s pockets coming from all directions, going ahead with this cut will cause extra hardship.
“The cut is both morally indefensible and economically unsound. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has stated that not only will individuals be hit hard but local communities will feel the pinch too. We know families on Universal Credit including many people in work spend more of their income on food, clothing, and essentials. The £20 is not disposable income to go on holiday it is about keeping afloat and retaining some dignity.
“Taking more than £1,000 out of the pockets of families in Powys will have a knock-on effect that will be detrimental to the local economy and increase demand on already overstretched services.”
Cllr Matthew Dorrance (Brecon, St John) said:
“Thousands of families in Powys will lose more than £1,000 because of the cut to Universal Credit. Many of those affected are the key workers who have supported us and kept us safe through the coronavirus pandemic.
“Earlier this month the Child Poverty Action Group told the Council that between April 2020 and March 2021 there was a 197% increase in the number of three-day emergency food parcels given to children in Powys so there can be no doubt that cutting Universal Credit will hurt families in Powys, push more children into poverty and damage our local economy.
“It is shameful that those Conservative Councillors and Independent Councillors who supported the cut which will be a devastating blow to families in Powys put Boris Johnson’s interests before the people and families they represent.”