Sunderland housing association Gentoo backs call for rethink on Universal Credit cut
Gentoo is urging the Government to axe plans to cut Universal Credit after the Covid pandemic.
The firm has joined fellow housing associations Karbon Homes and Believe Housing in calling for a rethink on plans to remove the £20 a week uplift introduced at the start of the outbreak.
They say the income of their almost 40,00 tenants claiming Universal Credit will collectively fall by £798,980 a week - or £41,546,960 a year.
Analysis by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) shows 35.6% of Universal Credit recipients in the North East are in work and it is working families who will make up the majority of those most affected.
If the cut goes ahead, families could find themselves £150 per month below the poverty line.
Susie Thompson, Executive Director of Housing at Gentoo, said: “The past 18 months have been financially challenging for thousands of families in Sunderland and as a result, we have seen an increase in the number of tenants accessing our free money and debt advice service.
"Many of our tenants were struggling to make ends meet long before the pandemic and for them that £20 uplift helped to avoid the worst outcome in many situations.
“As the country struggles to get back on its feet, we need a welfare system that supports those most at risk of being below the poverty line.
"Gentoo have heavily invested in services that support our tenants and our Money Matters and Universal Credit team are always on hand to offer financial support, guidance and advice.”
According to analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), the Government’s plans to cut Universal Credit in October will pose the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the foundations of the welfare state.
Karbon Homes chief executive Paul Fiddaman said: “Since the first of our customers began moving over to Universal Credit, we’ve invested a great deal of time and resources into ensuring we can support them with the transition.
“I fear that those customers, who have adjusted to life as a Universal Credit claimant, are about to be hit, once again, by the turmoil that the £20 a week cut is likely to bring. However, one thing I am certain of is that we’ll continue to be there to support them in every way possible.”