Benefit cuts could cause intolerable hunger and poverty for Doncaster families, charity warns

A charity warned Doncaster families could face intolerable hunger and poverty when Government cuts to Universal credit hit this autumn

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 3:42 pm

Charity chiefs have said cuts to income support and rising energy bills could leave many struggling through the winter months.

Doncaster residents could face a difficult winter, as rising energy bills coincide with cuts to benefits, warns Citizens Advice Doncaster.

Energy bills are due to rise from 1 October, increasing prices by around £150 per year.

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Doncaster residents could face a difficult winter, as rising energy bills coincide with cuts to benefits

Compounding matters, the Universal Credit uplift is controversially due to end in October, hitting the pockets of many local people, forcing many to reach out for support.

The overlapping benefit cut and price hike is being described by Citizens Advice’s Doncaster office as “a perfect storm”. James Bacon, a Generalist Advisor, said “Citizens Advice has helped 1,522 Doncaster residents with Universal Credit issues over the last year, and these are the people who will be hit hardest by these changes. 65% of these were new clients, which shows the impact this last year has had on ordinary people’s livelihoods. We’re urging the government to reconsider its cut to Universal Credit, which has provided a vital lifeline for many in our community.”

Of those claiming Universal Credit in Doncaster, Citizens Advice noted that 36% of those were in work, and that 41% were households with children. The cut will impact one in five local people, putting it among the more severely affected areas of the country. It has proved controversial nationally, with several Conservative MPs speaking out against the move, warning that it could lead to “intolerable” hunger and poverty.

More people have also been reaching out for help with energy bills as autumn draws closer. Citizens Advice Doncaster said that “during the summer months, little support is available for those struggling with utility bills as it is, and fuel grants aren’t available until later in the year. Without that support, people are certainly going to feel the squeeze throughout autumn.”

Ofgem has said that the increase is driven by “record high gas prices as the world emerges from lockdown.”

If you’re struggling with utility bills or benefits, contact Citizens Advice Doncaster for help or make an appointment by calling 0808 278 7955.