BPS criticises cut to Universal Credit

Ella Rhodes reports.

A £20-per-week cut to Universal Credit which came into effect in October has been criticised by the BPS. The extra support was brought in during the pandemic to help people on lower incomes.

According to the Resolution Foundation, the cut has meant a drop of 25 per cent for single people under 25 – from £75 per week to £59. For couples including one person over 25, the allowance has dropped 15 per cent from £137 per week to £117. The BPS has warned repeatedly of the impact of this cut on the mental health of children and adults alike.

Consultant Clinical Psychologist Julia Faulconbridge, also Communications and Publications Lead for the Division of Clinical Psychology, highlighted in a statement the impact of poverty on physical and mental health. ‘The cut will see health inequalities widen, placing more pressure on our already stretched and underfunded public services in addition to the well documented harm that increasing poverty causes to individuals, families and communities. We also need to look at the impact of this decision on people with disabilities and those with long-term health conditions.

‘A number of people with disabilities will have been on so-called ‘legacy’ benefits and never received the £20 uplift so have been disproportionately hit during the last 18 months, they also face a number of other barriers to accessing the support they need. The growing issue of Long Covid and its impact on people’s ability to live fulfilling and rewarding lives must not be ignored and we must ensure the support systems are in place to aid people’s recovery.’

Faulconbridge said there was much evidence to show that inequality impacted the health and wellbeing of everyone, not only the poorest in society. ‘Inequality touches everything including education, social mobility, crime levels, the economy, health and trust. To have a truly thriving society we must work to ensure we support those who need it most and ensure that poverty does not prevent families and children from being able to fully participate in our society and that we value them as equal citizens now and for the future.’ 

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