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  1. Published on: 11/10/2021 10:48 AMReported by: rogerblaxall
    County Cllr Julie Gibson, the Labour Group Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration has renewed calls for the Government to scrap its planned changes to Universal Credit which will see the £20 per week uplift removed.

    The uplift - introduced at the start of the pandemic - has been a lifeline to many and there are fears that families will be forced into poverty as they see incomes drastically reduced; a situation that will now be made worse with the recent rise in energy prices.

    Speaking recently on BBC Radio Lancashire, she said: “We are about to witness a sharp rise in energy prices. Households on standard tariffs will see bills go up by £139 to £1,277 a year, and pre-payment meter customers with average energy use will see a £153 increase which represents a 12% rise in energy prices at a time of the year when people are about to use more heating and lighting during colder, darker days.”

    She continued “At the same time we are about to witness a cut of £20 a week to Universal Credit despite calls from campaigners to Government to keep the lifeline. This will mean many people will be forced into the horrible decision of whether they heat their homes or feed their families.

    “Back in February, the Full Council meeting at Lancashire County Council, unanimously backed my motion to Government to listen to the concerns of welfare organisations, charities, local councillors and other partners, to keep the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit. The Government listened and extended the lifeline but now, again, we face the very real threat that the uplift will be cut.

    Cllr Gibson said: “As we start to re-build our society, it would make no sense to weaken it; having faced the uncertainties over COVID, Lancashire residents now face uncertainty over unemployment and cuts in vital benefits leaving many of them facing the prospect of a 'bleak mid-winter.'

    "I urge the Government to listen to its Councillors, partner organisations and residents and 'keep the lifeline'.”


    * “Keep the Lifeline Campaign” www.jrf.org.uk


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