A County Durham housing association is supporting a campaign to protect north east families from falling below the poverty line.
believe housing, alongside a number of housing associations across the region, are joining in the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s #KeeptheLifeline campaign urging the government to reconsider plans to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week. This would be the biggest reduction of basic social security rates since the start of the welfare state.
The Seaham based housing association is joining a day of action on Tuesday, 17 August to raise awareness of the Universal Credit cut and the massive impact this could have on the lives of thousands of residents in the north east and across the country.
Should the planned cut go ahead in October, half a million families across the UK could be put into poverty by £150 per month, with working families in the North of England, West Midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland being the hardest hit. Research from the Trade Union Congress showed 35.6% of Universal Credit recipients in the North East are in work.
Bill Fullen, Chief Executive of believe housing, said: “This is a substantial cut that will impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, and will be felt by almost one third of our residents.
“We’ve all heard lots of talk about a strong recovery from Covid-19, and it’s important to remember that many of the people who are receiving Universal Credit are in work. A good proportion of them are likely to work in the caring and front-line roles we’ve all depended on so much during the pandemic. This does not feel like the right time to be reducing the income of the workers we have all relied upon so much.
“There’s a lot of research that shows just how substantial the impact of this reduction will be, as the cut amounts to over £1000 a year. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have identified that six in ten single parent families will be impacted, and those caring for a sick or disabled relative will also be disproportionally affected. We share the concerns of our customers and everyone else who is raising this really important issue.”
#KeeptheLifeline is a campaign from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an independent social change organisation working to solve poverty in the UK. The foundation works with private, public and voluntary sectors, as well as people with lived experience of poverty to build recommendations and help those living in poverty.