RCPCH calls for re-introduction of £20 a week universal credit uplift

The £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit comes into effect on Wednesday 6 October 2021.

The scheduled removal of the UK Government’s £20 uplift to Universal Credit goes ahead on Wednesday 6 October 2021, following a 6 month extension from March 2021. The £20 increase has helped around 5.5 million families during the COVID-19 pandemic, amounting to £1,040 extra of support for the most vulnerable.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said:

Millions of families will be impacted by the biggest overnight cut to social security since the Second World War. Modelling by the Joseph Roundtree Foundation (JRF) indicates that half a million more people—including a further 200,000 children—will be dragged across the poverty line.

The loss of £20 from a week’s budget can, quite literally, mean children going hungry—or parents going hungry so their children can eat. It can mean being unable to afford to put the heating on. For many, it will mean choosing one or the other.  

The links between poverty and poor health outcomes are well documented and government has repeatedly said they want to ensure all children get the best start in life. Children cannot have a good start if they’re growing up in poverty. The cut to Universal Credit will increase the number of children who will be disadvantaged in terms of physical and mental health, safety, and wellbeing. It will deepen structural social and health inequalities.

We urge the Government to reinstate the £20 a week uplift in the Autumn Budget, and keep this lifeline in place for the most vulnerable children and families.