Alex calls on the Chancellor to cancel his cut to Universal Credit

Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, has reiterated his call for the Universal Credit increase to be kept in place – as Labour hold an Opposition Day Debate on the Chancellor’s plans to cut payments by £20 a week.

10,775 people in Stockton North will be affected by the cut to Universal Credit. In the Tees Valley as a whole the number of people who will be hit by the Chancellor’s plans to cut the benefit is 75,940.

The £20 increase was put in place as a result of the first lockdown – although people on so-called “legacy” benefits remain excluded. Alongside Andy McDonald, Alex raised the issue of cut in December 2020 – only to be told by the Chancellor that the increase was a “temporary measure”. The Resolution Foundation, a think tank that looks at ways of improving living standard on low and middle income families states that if the £20 cut goes ahead, the basic rate of unemployment benefit will fall to the lowest level in real-terms since 1992.

Alex said:

“It is outrageous that the Tory Chancellor is pressing ahead with his plans to cut Universal Credit. This is a cut that will hit the poorest in our society – people who have already been most affected by the pandemic and rely on this money.

“We’re not just in a health crisis, we’re in the midst of an economic one too. £20 a week might not seem like a lot to the Chancellor but for many in Stockton North and the Tees Valley, this increase has been a lifeline – and it will be needed beyond April 2021.

“I’m urging the Chancellor – and Tory MPs in the Tees Valley – to do the right thing: cancel the cut to Universal Credit, and ensure local people have the means to get through this crisis.”

A joint statement from the Tees Labour Groups on local councils, and Tees Labour MPs has also been issued in support of keeping the Universal Credit increase beyond April 2021.