A new survey of young people found widespread concern that the ending of the Universal Credit uplift could lead to increased hardship and ultimately homelessness.
Universal Credit claimants of all ages have been receiving an additional £20 a week as part of a raft of measures to support those affected by the pandemic, introduced by the government in March last year. However, this uplift scheme ends on 6th October 2021.
The national movement End Youth Homelessness (EYH) – a coalition of charities including Step by Step – found that 70% of the young people surveyed said that the cut would make it more difficult to buy food and essentials, while 60% were concerned it would be harder to pay rent and bills. Over a third of those surveyed anticipated borrowing money and getting into debt as a result of these changes.
Step by Step has joined over 40 other homelessness charities in signing a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, expressing their concern and urging that an adequate safety net is put in place.
“The findings of this research are deeply concerning,” says Debbie Moreton, CEO of Step by Step. “We experience first-hand the financial pressures already weighing down on young people - losing such a large proportion of income will surely add to the hardship of those fighting to create a brighter futures for themselves.”
It has been estimated that many Universal Credit claimants will lose 25% of their income once the uplift is withdrawn. Many respondents to the survey worry that their future prospects will be damaged, with almost half saying that the cut to their income would make it harder to access work, education and training.
At Step by Step, we know first-hand that young people no longer able to meet rent payments will inevitably lead to more instances of homelessness.