Citizens Advice Isle of Wight urges government against “devastating” Universal Credit cut 

  • Local charity says 57% of people seeking its advice on benefits have never needed its support before 
  • Number of people claiming Universal Credit in Isle of Wight has risen 99since the pandemic began 

Staff and volunteers at Citizens Advice Isle of Wight have helped 682 people with Universal Credit since March last year. Around 57% of people in Isle of Wight seeking its advice on benefits have never contacted the charity before. 

Advisers say many needing support from the benefits system have lost their job or suffered a drop in income as a result of the pandemic and need support from the welfare system for the first time in their lives.

Citizens Advice Isle of Wight, which has continued to provide one-to-one support throughout the pandemic, warns that local families could be pushed into further hardship if the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift ends as planned in April.  

In Isle of Wight the number of people claiming Universal Credit has risen 99% since the pandemic started. This compares to a rise of 93% nationally.  

Clive Bollland, Citizens Advice Isle of Wight Help to Claim Adviser, said:

The £20 uplift has been a lifeline for people trying to survive on Universal Credit during a pandemic and the possibility of losing this uplift is bound to have a negative effect not only on their financial situation but also on their mental well being.” 

Paul Savill, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Isle of Wight, said: 

“We support people every day whose lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic. For many of them, Universal Credit is the lifeline that has helped pay the bills and put food on the table. 

“But households across the island now face the devastating prospect of a £20 a week cut to their benefits in just a few short months.  

“With a tough outlook in the jobs market, we’re urging the government to continue doing the right thing and maintain the Universal Credit upliftThe uplift is worth £11 million to local businesses in the income that islanders on Universal Credit spend.” 

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