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#KeepTheLifeline: Letter to MPs (Northern Ireland)

The UK Government is set to cut Universal Credit by £20 per week in the Autumn, which will have a significant negative impact on the poorest and most vulnerable people in the UK.

Although responsibility for social security is devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, funding is provided by Westminster and social security is administered on a principle of parity. This means changes made by the UK Government will be replicated locally.

Many people who receive support from social work services will receive Universal Credit, and £20 a week cut from their allowance will make it more difficult to get on in life.

Children in the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods in Northern Ireland are four times more likely to be in care and six times more likely to on the child protection register than children in the 10% least deprived. The vast majority of parents in poverty parent well despite being in poverty, but for those parents who are struggling with a range of problems, poverty makes the task of parenting much, much harder. Cutting Universal Credit will only make families poorer and therefore make parenting more difficult. Placing children in care adds to the financial costs of Health and Social Care Trusts which are already under severe pressure. It is better to keep families together and adequate financial support is part of this.

We are urging our members to make their voice heard against this proposal and send the template letter below to their Member of Parliament, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Chancellor, and the Prime Minister.

Once you’ve emailed them, make sure you let us know that you have by emailing kerri.prince@basw.co.uk so that we can keep track of numbers.

Letter to your local MP

To find your MP’s email address, go to: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

Please note this letter must go from your personal email address and not a work email address.

Subject: Letter from your constituent 

Dear [insert the name of your MP here],

I oppose the planned cut to Universal Credit due to happen this autumn.

I am a member of the British Association of Social Workers. Social workers see first-hand the impact that poverty has on people, especially families. Cutting Universal Credit will have a significant impact on the role of social workers as children who are in poverty are significantly more likely to be in the care of the state. The huge majority of parents in poverty parent well, but for those parents who are struggling, poverty makes the task of parenting much, much harder. Cutting financial support will only make families poorer and make parenting more difficult. Not only does this add a further layer of hardship to families, but it puts an additional strain on local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, and on Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland which have a statutory duty to support children at risk. Cutting Universal Credit simply transfers the financial responsibility to already-stretched public services.

The Government may not view £20 per week to be a large amount of money for those who need additional income to get by, but the reality is that the £20 could be keeping the heads of an individual or a family above water.

We all look forward to the end of COVID-19, but the reality is that the virus is still present, and we continue to live with the impact of the virus on our society. Jobs have been lost, many people are experiencing poor health or a severe loss of income. With winter around the corner, which will lead to increased energy bills, that £20 is important to prevent people from getting unwell by living in below-acceptable temperatures.

The £20 is a lifeline, and people will unnecessarily struggle without it.

I urge you to write to the Prime Minister, asking him to reconsider his plan.

Best wishes,

NAME

ADDRESS/POSTCODE (you must provide this to prove you are a constituent)

 

Letter to the Prime Minister/Chancellor/Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

This must also go from a personal email address, and not a work email address

To:         secretaryofstate@dwp.gov.uk; CEU.Enquiries@hmtreasury.gov.uk; ministerial.correspondence@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Subject: Letter from a UK resident

To the Prime Minister/Chancellor of the Exchequer/Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [delete as appropriate]

I oppose the planned cut to Universal Credit due to happen this autumn.

I am a member of the British Association of Social Workers. Social workers see first-hand the impact that poverty has on people, especially families. Cutting Universal Credit will have a significant impact on the role of social workers as children who are in poverty are significantly more likely to be in the care of the state. The huge majority of parents in poverty parent well, but for those parents who are struggling, poverty makes the task of parenting much, much harder. Cutting financial support will only make families poorer and make parenting more difficult. Not only does this add a further layer of hardship to families, but it puts an additional strain on local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, and on  Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland which have a statutory duty to support children at risk. Cutting Universal Credit simply transfers the financial responsibility to already-stretched public services.

Your Government may not view £20 per week to be a large amount of money for those who need additional income to get by, but the reality is that the £20 could be keeping the heads of an individual or a family above water.

We all look forward to the end of COVID-19, but the reality is that the virus is still present, and we continue to live with the impact of the virus on our society. Jobs have been lost, many people are experiencing poor health or a severe loss of income. With winter around the corner, which will lead to increased energy bills, that £20 is important to prevent people from getting unwell by living in below-acceptable temperatures.

The £20 is a lifeline, and people will unnecessarily struggle without it.

I urge you to reconsider your plan and put people’s wellbeing at the heart of Government policy.

Best wishes,

NAME

ADDRESS/POSTCODE