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Alex Sobel MP warns of a winter of unnecessary hardship on the horizon.

Otley and Yeadon’s MP, Alex Sobel said many residents in the area face devasting cuts to their income this month with the removal of the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit.

There are currently 1815 people, over 14% of the working population of Otley & Yeadon who claim Universal Credit with a vast majority of these are people in low paid employment.

Alex said “The Government’s decision to cut the uplift at this time is wrong. Many claimants will see a loss of earnings of up to £1000 a year”

“This will impact the lowest paid hardest and hurt our economic recovery. Added to the burden of soaring energy costs, increases to National Insurance payments, cost of food increases etc, the result will be more people/families living in poverty.”

In Leeds there are already 1 in 5 children living in poverty with the number predicted to rise following these cuts.

Mr Sobel pointed out “It is scandalous to think that a nation as rich as ours even has children living in poverty”

Alex also added “Is this really how the Government want to thank so many of the people who kept this country going through the pandemic, the nurses, the shop workers, the bus/train drivers and many more?”

Alex has long campaigned for the benefits system to be overhauled and Universal Credit to be replaced by a new social security system which provides a proper social security safety net and has dignity and respect at its heart.

He has also campaigned during the pandemic for all six legacy benefits to be raised by £20 a week in line with the Universal credit rise.

Alex further added “Everybody is entitled to have their basic needs met, and nobody should have to decide whether to eat or be warm this winter”

“The knock-on effect of this cut will lead to children not being able to concentrate at school due to hunger, increase demand in our mental health services by people unable to financial cope (a service that has already been cut to the core by tory cuts), more demand on foodbanks, baby banks and clothes banks. Many claimants may also be pushed into rent arrears”

Alex ended by saying “The Government have until Thursday to do the right thing and U-turn on this decision and keep families afloat this winter”

Labour and many back bench Conservatives are both putting pressure on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reverse his decision to scrap the £20 uplift.


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