Benefits cut will leave Huntingdonshire families 'in debt', warns charity
- Credit: CARC
Benefits cuts of around £20 a week could see one in 10 people in Huntingdonshire “unable to pay their bills or turning to food banks” due to debt, a local charity has warned.
Citizens Advice Rural Cambs is urging the Government against a cut to Universal Credit that would scores of working-age people in the district.
Figures show that around 43 per cent of residents set to see their benefits drop are families with children and 47 per cent are already in work.
Staff and volunteers at the local charity have helped 3,132 people with Universal Credit since March last year.
They say the £20 a week increase has been a “lifeline” and has supported people who were already struggling before the pandemic as well as those hit by Covid job losses.
The charity warns a cut to the benefit this autumn - as energy bills rise with the colder weather - will see many struggle to afford their essential costs.
It fears a drop in income could be particularly difficult for new benefits claimants who may be unaware of the looming cut.
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Nick Blencowe, chief officer of Citizens Advice Rural Cambs, said: “Every day, our staff and volunteers see the difference the increase to Universal Credit has made to families. It’s what has helped them keep their heads above water.
“Without that extra money, we fear we’d see more people coming to us in debt, unable to pay their bills or turning to food banks because they can’t afford the essentials.
“As we look to rebuild from Covid, the Government must invest in the benefits system and keep this vital lifeline.”
For free, independent and impartial advice and support you can contact Citizens Advice Rural Cambs:
· Adviceline: 0808 278 7807
Monday to Friday 09:30 to 15:30
· Universal Credit Help to Claim line: 0800 1448444, for anyone seeking to make a new claim
· Webchat or email via: www.citizensadviceruralcambs.org.uk