LOCAL Senedd Member Joyce Watson has said that the UK Government’s withdrawal of £20 universal credit top-ups ‘beggars belief’.

Speaking in the Senedd, the Mid and West Wales Labour MS asked the business minister to respond to this cut from our poorest, which is due to take effect at the end of September.

Joyce Watson MS (Mid and West Wales) said: “The Tories, it seems, are intent on taking money out of the pockets of those who can least afford it. In Wales, more than 237,000 households were on universal credit in February, and more than 30,000 of those were families in my region.

“Across the UK, it’s estimated that the £20 uplift has helped over 700,000 people stay above the poverty line, and it does somehow beggar belief that the UK Government would be, yet again, intent on choosing to make low-income households poorer, given all the uncertainty that autumn and winter puts in front of us.”

Over 30,000 households in Mid and West Wales were on Universal Credit in February 2021 – 11,883 in Carmarthenshire; 3,846 in Ceredigion; 7,592 in Gwynedd; 8,390 in Pembrokeshire and 6,770 in Powys.
Trefnydd Lesley Griffiths responded: “We’re extremely disappointed that the UK Government has decided to end the additional £20 universal credit weekly payment from the end of September. There’s no doubt that it will impact on some of our poorest households in Wales, who are already struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I thought it was very interesting that six former Secretaries of State signed a letter—Tory Secretaries of State—to the Department for Work and Pensions Secretary of State when she confirmed that the £20 per week universal credit would end at the end of September.

“What we can do as a Government is continue, along with other organisations, to support our organisations that help people who are, and will be, significantly affected by the UK Government’s heartless decision.”