OPEN LETTER TO JOHN PENROSE MP FOR PUBLICATION IN THE WESTON MERCURY / 7 September 2021
Dear Mr Penrose,
We are writing to you collectively to urge the Prime Minister not to go ahead with the planned £20 per week cut to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit.
Last week, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported 23% of families in Weston-super-Mare are in receipt of Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit – a total of 9,980 families.
Even more concerning, 41% of families with children are in receipt of Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit – a total of 5,280 families.
In March 2020, faced with the pandemic, the Government did the right thing and increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £20 per week. However, this £20 per week is scheduled to be cut from October 6th affecting almost 10,000 families in your constituency, including four out of every ten families with children.
All six previous Secretaries of State for Works and Pensions since 2010, the Work and Pensions Committee, the Lords Economic Affairs Committee, the Conservative Northern Research Group and the Conservative One Nation Caucus have warned against this cut and its devastating effect.
More than a million people could be forced to turn to food banks. For many, an additional £80 a month is the difference between being able to eat and having to choose between heating and food. It has been calculated £20 a week is equivalent to six days of energy costs or three days of food costs for a low-income family.
We want a social security system that supports families to escape poverty rather than pulling them deeper into it. This cut risks causing immense, immediate, and avoidable hardship. A strong social security system is a crucial first step to building back better.
Clive Bodley, Chair of Trustees,
Weston-super-Mare Food Bank
Dave and Penny Hynds, Leaders,
ROC Weston-super-Mare Action Group
Graham Road Patients Voice
James Willis-Boden and Margaret Egerton, founding members of Helping People Mutual Aid Group