• Charity warns families are facing a catastrophe of falling income and rising costs as £20 increase is removed
  • An additional 11,000 children will be pushed into poverty as a result of the cut

 The £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit which takes effect today (Wednesday 6 October) will affect an incredible 83,000 children in Northern Ireland, Save the Children has warned.

Between now and early November, over 83,000 children in over 44,000 households in Northern Ireland who are in receipt of Universal Credit will see their payments reduced– by £87 a month or £1,040 a year.

Government statistics show that in Northern Ireland, more than 22,000 families, or half of families affected (51%), have children aged under five, while three in four (75%) are single parent families.

With one in four children (23%) already experiencing poverty in Northern Ireland, the charity is warning that the cut will lead to a surge in poverty.

Peter Bryson, Save the Children’s Head of Northern Ireland said: “The UK government’s decision to go ahead with this cut will devastate families in Northern Ireland. Over the next month, 44,000 families – that’s 83,000 children – will be affected with 11,000 children pushed into poverty.

“People we work with tell us they’ve been relying on this £20 lifeline to buy essentials like food and clothing for themselves and their children. Without it, tens of thousands more children are facing a cold and hungry winter. And we know the impacts of childhood poverty can last a lifetime.

“It’s astonishing that UK Government ministers have chosen to inflict the most significant social security cut in memory at the same time that families are grappling with a cost-of-living crisis; Inflation, increases in energy prices, fuel shortages and tax hikes are all taking their toll on family finances. For many, this will be a significant catastrophe of falling income and rising costs. The UK Government has a duty to protect families from hardship and not add to it.

“The UK Government must change course. In his budget announcement later this month, the chancellor should reinstate the £20 lifeline. Children will be affected immediately by this change as well as throughout the course of their entire childhoods and beyond.”

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