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06th Oct 2021

Work and Pensions Secretary sings ‘I’ve had the time of my life’ on eve of historic benefit cuts

Ava Evans

Six Million people woke up poorer on Wednesday, as government cut £20 uplift to Universal Credit

‘I’ve had the time of my life’ sang Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, on the eve of the biggest overnight benefit cut in history. 

Partying late into the evening on Tuesday, Coffey took the stage at the Tory Party conference’s karaoke night along with Conservative MP for Colchester, Will Quince, who was the Minister for Welfare Delivery last year. 

Belting out the Dirty Dancing favorite, Coffey enjoyed her last night in Manchester, while millions of British households prepared for a tough winter.

Six million people are set to lose 10% of their income on Wednesday, as the government presses ahead with their controversial cut to Universal credit.

A basic payment for single-household claimants aged over 25 will be reduced to £75 a week. The UK now provides the lowest benefit in all developed countries. 

The cut comes after inflation soared to its highest rate since records began last month. Rising food, energy, and fuel prices are adding to the misery.

Data from the Centre for Economics and Business Research out Wednesday shows inflation will cost a typical family of four £1800 by the end of the year. 

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Ministers say the Universal Credit uplift was meant to be a temporary measure to help people through the economic shock of the covid crisis. The government announced on Monday a £500 million scheme to get unemployed people back into work, despite 4 in 10 current Universal Credit claimants already in paid employment. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the decision, insisting taxpayers shouldn’t subsidise low pay.

The move has been met with criticism from charities, think-tanks, and opposition parties warning one million households will lose 10% of their income.

The Resolution Foundation report the policy as the biggest ever overnight benefit cut in history, where only the 10% cut to unemployment support at the height of the Great Depression in 1931 comes close.

Even Lady Philippa Stroud, a Tory peer who helped create Universal Credit, has warned the cut will be catastrophic. Speaking on The Today Programme she warned: “By our calculations, the decision today to remove this uplift will push 840,000 people into poverty – 290,000 of those are children”