Mayor Ros Jones says new government grant for most vulnerable ‘will go nowhere’ to offset cut in Universal Credit
Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has said the incoming government grant aiming to help the poorest and most vulnerable in the borough ‘will go nowhere’ to offset the cut in Universal Credit.
The comments come following an announcement that Doncaster will receive a slice of £500 million from ministers in the form of the Household Support Fund.
The money will be given to Doncaster Council through small grants to meet daily needs such as food, clothing, and utilities. Cash will be made available to local authorities across England in October.
Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said there is ‘more people in work and the economy is bouncing back’, but there was a need to ensure ‘those in greatest need’ can access vital support to help cover everyday costs.
But the announcement has been rubbished by the mayor who said the planned Universal Credit cut will hammer the ‘poorest and most vulnerable residents’ which relied on the uplift the most during the pandemic.
She said the borough is at risk of rising homelessness and an increase in food banks.
Mayor Jones said: “This funding will go nowhere near replacing the £20 per-week cut to Universal Credit that has supported some of our poorest and most vulnerable residents throughout the pandemic.
“At a time when many residents are facing a cost of living crisis with rising energy, fuel and food prices. These rising bills, the end of Furlough and the cut to UC creates a real risk of rising homelessness this winter and increased reliance on food banks.
“Government speaks of levelling up, you do not do this by taking away funding to those who struggle the most. This will only deepen the north/south divide and hit our most deprived communities the hardest.
“We are heading for a very difficult winter, we should be supporting the most vulnerable and most at risk. The potential impacts on people’s lives will only cause more issues down the line with their mental health and wellbeing.”
Ms Coffey said: “Over the last year, we have helped millions of people provide for their families.
“Many are now back on their feet but we know that some may still need further support.
“Our targeted Household Support Fund is here to help those vulnerable households with essential costs as we push through the last stages of our recovery from the pandemic.”