Council leader slams plans hit poorest families in Hucknall with £1,000 cut in benefits
Nearly one in five of the poorest families in receipt of universal credit or working tax credits in Sherwood – which includes Hucknall – are set to lose more than £1,000 a year from October.
The Government is poised to cancel the £20 a week uplift in the benefits brought in at the start of the pandemic.
The proposed cut has been described as ‘crude, callous and wicked’ by Ashfield District Council leader Coun Jason Zadrozny.
New figures from anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation show that, across the Sherwood constituency, 4,410 families with children are in receipt of either universal credit or working tax credits, a further 3,120 families without children are in receipt of the same benefits.
Coun Zadrozny (Ash Ind) said: “At a time when every penny counts – our poorest families are being hit with this crude, callous and wicked cut.
"Since the start of the pandemic, the amount of families claiming these benefits across Sherwood has risen by around 18 per cent.
"The Prime Minister fails to understand that half the families impacted are in poorer-paid, full-time jobs.
“Families have lost the jobs or taken poorer-paid jobs through no fault of their own.
"This is a disgusting attack on the poorest in our area.
"Food bank use has gone through the roof – at a time when prices including at supermarkets and energy prices have rocketed and while £20 a week may not sound like a lot to many, for others they are set to face the choice of heating their homes or going without food from the autumn.
“How, in a civilised society can this be right?
"It’s another example of the same old Tories – hitting the poorest at the worst possible time.”
Coun Zadrozny now plans to put an emergency motion calling for this decision to be reversed at a full meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council on September 23.
He is also planning to pressure all of Nottinghamshire’s Conservative MPs into objecting to the cut.
Coun Lee Waters (Ash Ind), a Hucknall councillor, added: “These cuts will be devastating for so many people.
"Of the 7,520 families impacted in the Sherwood Constituency – well over half of them live in and around Hucknall.
"Covid has had such a huge impact on every way of our lives – especially our disposal income.
"There is vast opposition to cutting this £20 a week across the political divide – even Tory MPs are calling it disgraceful.”
The charity, Citizens Advice has claimed that a third of people on universal credit will lead to more than two million more families ending up in debt when the extra payment is removed in October.
Dame Clare Moriarty, Citizen’s Advice chief executive, said: "A cut to universal credit this autumn will be a hammer blow to millions of people.
"It undermines our chance of a more equal recovery by tipping families into the red and taking money from the communities most in need.
"The Government must listen to the growing consensus that it should reverse course and keep this vital lifeline."
The Dispatch has approached Hucknall MP Mark Spencer for comment.