Universal Credit cut will affect over 160,000 children in Wales, say Save the Children
The £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit will impact a child every sixteen seconds in Wales over the next month, Save the Children has warned.
It says between now and early November, over 160,000 children in nearly 90,000 households in Wales who receive Universal Credit will see their payments reduced– by £87 a month or £1,040 a year.
This is in addition to research by the Bevan Foundation that cites that a higher proportion of families in Wales will be affected by the cut to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit than the UK average.
It has said this will take approximately £286 million out of the Welsh economy, potentially damaging the economic recovery.
Save the Children says 68,000 families in Wales with children on Universal Credit have a child of primary school age or younger.
Stacey, a parent from Newport on Universal Credit, is concerned the cut will mean she will struggle to pay for her young daughter to take part in after school activities.
She said: “Myself and my partner have managed ok until now but receiving £20 less a week will definitely make a difference in terms of our food shop and also in paying off some of our debts. It’s worrying with the winter months coming in as we’ll be paying more for gas and electricity but may then have less money to live on.
“Our daughter has also started school and possibly that £20 will be taking away things we need to buy for her in terms of school uniform or activities she can take part in. She has currently started to go to gymnastics classes as well which is around £5 a session.
“The cut could mean I won’t be able to afford for her to go to after school classes which would be a pity as she is a very sociable little girl and wants to try everything.”
‘Surge in poverty’
With nearly one in three children (180,000) already experiencing poverty in Wales, the charity is warning that the cut will lead to a surge in poverty.
Melanie Simmonds, Head of Save the Children in Wales added: “The UK Government’s decision to go ahead with this cut will devastate families in Wales. Over the next month, nearly 90,000 families – that’s over 160,000 children – will be affected with many children pushed into poverty.
“People we work with tell us they’ve been relying on this £20 lifeline to buy essentials like food and clothing for themselves and their children. Without it, tens of thousands more children are facing a cold and hungry winter. And we know the impacts of childhood poverty can last a lifetime.
“It’s astonishing that UK Government ministers have chosen to inflict the most significant social security cut in memory at the same time that families are grappling with a cost-of-living crisis; Inflation, increases in energy prices, fuel shortages and tax hikes are all taking their toll on family finances.
“For many, this will be a significant catastrophe of falling income and rising costs. The UK Government has a duty to protect families from hardship and not add to it.
“The UK Government must change course. In his budget announcement later this month, the chancellor should reinstate the £20 lifeline. Children will be affected immediately by this change as well as throughout the course of their entire childhoods and beyond.”