Blackburn: city to be 5th most affected by cuts to increase in universal credit

BLACKBURN will be the fifth most affected city in England by the government’s plan to cut universal credit in September, according to a new study.

Meanwhile, Burnley will be even worse as the fourth city to hit once the £ 20 universal credit hike is removed later this year, according to Center for Cities research.

The study found that the average claimant would lose around £ 1,000 per year with 20.3% of the working age population of Blackburn expected to be affected as well as 20.6% of the population of Burnley.

Blackburn MP Kate Hollern said: “The continuation of the £ 20 increase has enjoyed all-party support, so it is deeply disappointing that the government is determined to drop this important measure.

“The increase was by no means perfect as ESA applicants are not eligible for example, but it has made a huge difference as people have struggled over the past year and continue to struggle.

She added: “Those with the lowest incomes were hit hardest during the pandemic, most of their income goes to the basics.

“In many cases the cost of living has increased as families and children are forced to stay at home for months.

“If the government can find £ 37bn for a broken test and traceability system, it can easily find the money to keep this increase.”

Further into Lancashire, Blackpool is expected to be the hardest hit by the reduction, with 21.8% of working-age residents claiming universal credit.

The national government will remove the £ 20 increase because, with the pandemic reducing, it says it will no longer be needed.

However, the Center for Cities says poorer households in cities like Blackburn and Burnley have both seen their spending drop less since the start of the pandemic and are more likely to have seen their incomes drop.

Their spending had not declined as these households are more likely to have already spent the majority of their income on necessities, meaning when the pandemic hit, no further savings were possible.

Residents of Blackburn and Burnley who apply for universal credit are also less likely to see their employment prospects pick up than people in wealthier parts of the country.

The Center for Cities study also comes just over a month after figures released by the Office for National Statistics found that more than 20 percent of people living in Blackburn with Darwen were classified as “without income. “, with an average income of just £ 13,741 and 50 local neighborhoods among England’s most deprived.

This left the borough as the most disadvantaged tenth out of 316.

However, Work and Pensions Secretary Theresa Coffey said another measure would be put in place to help those affected by the pandemic.

Speaking to the House of Commons Committee on Work and Pensions, she said: “Before October, we will start communicating with current claimants to let them know that this will be phased out and that they will start to see an adjustment. of their payments. ”

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