MILLIONS of Brits could be pushed into the red when the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit ends.
New research from Citizens Advice shows that 2.3million people will be in debt after paying their bills when the boost ends on September 30.
A survey of 2,000 Universal Credit claimants showed 38% would be in debt after paying essential bills following the £80 a month drop.
That is equivalent to 2.3million people, the charity said, and the average shortfall for people tipped into the red would be £51 a month.
The £20 a week extra was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic to help families that were struggling financially due to Covid.
It will end on September 30, despite charities and cross-party MPs calling on the government to extend the uplift or make it permanent.
We've covered the ways you can get help if you're worried about the impact the cut will have on your finances, including a budgeting loan for emergencies.
Citizens Adviceis preparing for a surge in people seeking crisis support this autumn, it said.
Nine in 10 of advisers are anticipating an increase in people needing support from food banks if the cut goes ahead.
The charity raised concerns that single parents could be the hardest hit by a drop in income given their essential outgoings.
The Government's figures show that the decision to cut the benefit will impact 3.4million children in Britain.
Citizens Advice warned that a triple whammy of benefit cuts, rising energy bills and further redundancies as the furlough scheme ends will push families into hardship.
Charlie Young, project manager at Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice, said: “So many families we’re helping are just about managing to scrape by. Take away £20 a week and you push them into the red. It’ll be devastating."
Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive at the charity, added: “A cut to Universal Credit this autumn will be a hammer blow to millions of people."
A Government spokesperson said: “The temporary uplift to Universal Credit was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.
“Universal Credit will continue to provide a vital safety net and with record vacancies available, alongside the successful vaccination rollout, it’s right that we now focus on our Plan for Jobs, helping claimants to increase their earnings by boosting their skills and getting into work, progressing in work or increasing their hours.”
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