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6 October 2021

The Universal Credit reduction is the biggest overnight benefit cut in history

The £1,040-a-year benefit cut is the biggest since the creation of the British welfare state.

By Nicu Calcea

The £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift (£1,040 a year), which was introduced to support people during the Covid-19 pandemic, officially ends today. The change represents the biggest overnight cut in benefits since the creation of the British welfare state, and one of the biggest total cuts, according to analysis by the Resolution Foundation. It will affect some six million families in the UK. 


The end of the uplift coincides with the end of restrictions on rental evictions in England and the end of the furlough scheme, which is likely to see more people forced to rely on Universal Credit.

Though the increase was a temporary measure, social security support has fallen behind economic growth in recent years. Had it grown in line with UK GDP since 1990, benefit payments would now be £40 a week higher. 

The imposition of the Universal Credit cut came as Boris Johnson declared in his Conservative Party conference speech that he had the “guts” to move the UK “towards a high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy”.

[See also: Tory members love Boris Johnson – but not Johnsonism]

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