The government budget for 2019 is calling for even more cut backs to the Universal Welfare benefit system. The reductions could impact as many as 3 millions households, many of them who are vulnerable, poor, older people, or have a disability. The government budget may reduce their annual Universal Payments by as much as £2,000, or £200 per month, over the course of a year. This could even put more strain on charities as more families on a low income may face a financial hardship.
The aim of the cutbacks is to save the government money. The United Kingdom has been on an austerity programme for many years, and this has impacted the poor and vulnerable maybe more than anyone else. The welfare schemes and local government council funding has been on the chopping blocks for many years. This has impacted disability, local housing allowances, and other benefits given to the poor.
Conservatives are saying that Universal Credit cutbacks, which may total billions per year starting in 2019, will not be that major as the aim is to ensure those on welfare find a job. With the unemployment rates in the UK at 4 per cent, the job market is very strong and employers are hiring. There are a record number of vacancies. Conservatives say that a beneficiary can update their CV and get a job, that will bring in extra income that is combined with Universal Credit.
What is Universal Credit?
The UC is replacing several other forms of welfare, including the following. The credit replaces income support; housing benefit; income-based jobseeker’s allowance; income-related employment and support allowance; working tax credit and also the child tax credit. It gives those families who are enrolled one check per month, and they need to spend and allocate the money as they see fit for their bills, housing, transportation, and other expenses.
While the benefit rollout has been slow, it may be completed by 2023. Millions of families on a low income, the disabled, and poor will be transitioning to the new benefit by then, with tens of thousands changing per year. While the funding will come and go, the fact is it is expected that less money will be paid out by the welfare benefit.
There are a few conservatives who are starting to push back on some of the proposed cuts, including Ian Duncan. They would like more money put into the Universal Credit as well as other welfare schemes. But time will tell whether the benefit is cut back, and how much it may be. But anyone who is on Universal Credit now, or that may be transitioned onto it in the near future, should start to plan on receiving less money each month, as there are bound to be some cutbacks.