ABERAVON MP Stephen Kinnock has condemned plans by the UK Government to reverse a £20 rise in Universal Credit as thousands more working people have claimed the benefit in the constituency since the start of the pandemic.

More than 2,000 new claimants were registered in the Aberavon constituency since the start of the pandemic bringing the total as of February 2021 to 6,351 according to UK Government statistics.

The figures come as the UK Government has announced plans to phase out a £20-a-week increase to those claiming Universal Credit.

Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock has condemned the planned cut and said the reduction would amount to claimants in the constituency losing up to £1,000 a year.

Mr Kinnock said around 40% of families claiming Universal Credit are in work, so this plan to cut the benefit would hit working households as well as non-working households.

He said: “It is simply shameful that the Government want to take £1000 from thousands of families in Aberavon in a matter of months especially in light of the sharp increase in claimants in our constituency since the start of the pandemic.

“Millions of people on Universal Credit are in work.

“They’re not claiming Universal Credit because they’re work-shy, they’re claiming it because the Westminster Tory government are presiding over an economy where jobs aren’t paying the bills and where low-paid people are forced to top up their income.

“Cutting Universal Credit by £1,000 would leave out-of-work support at its lowest levels for over three decades.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey has confirmed to the Work and Pensions Select Committee that the UK Government is continuing with the planned cut.

The Labour Party is calling on the UK Government to cancel the cut and keep the uplift permanent.

In September 2020, analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) found that the withdrawal of the uplift in Universal Credit will risk bringing 700,000 more people, including 300,000 more children into poverty.

The JRF found it could also bring 500,000 more people into deep poverty (classified as being more than 50% below the poverty line).

Combined with a cut to Child Working Tax Credit, it will impact 6.2million families according to JRF.

Mr Kinnock added: “For the families relying on this money and for our economy, the Government must see sense and cancel the cut.”

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