Aylesbury MP out of touch with real families, says Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman

Criticism comes in wake of government plans to scrap uplift to Universal Credit

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:54 pm

Tory MPs like Aylesbury's Rob Butler are out of touch with real families, says Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesperson Steven Lambert.

Figures released by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have revealed that as many as 16% of hard-pressed families across the Aylesbury constituency face being left worse off when the Government ends the uplift to Universal Credit next month.

The data revealed the true nature of how badly some areas will be hit by the £20 Universal Credit cut, which is opposed by the Liberal Democrats.

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The uplift in Universal Credit is due to end next month

In the report, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates that the Universal Credit cut alone could force 500,000 people, almost half of them, children, into poverty. Their breakdown shows that some 7,950 families in the Aylesbury constituency will be harmed by the Government’s uplift cut, with 31% of families with children being affected adversely.

In a debate and vote in the House of Commons last week, Aylesbury's Conservative MP Rob Butler failed to take part or vote whereas 253 opposition MPs voted for the motion not to cut the benefit.

Mr Lambert said "This is another example of our Conservative MP being out of touch with what is going on in our area and the effect that next month's Universal Credit cut is going to mean to thousands of people in Aylesbury."

The vote in the House of Commons also comes after six former Conservative Secretaries of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, Stephen Crabb, Damian Green, Esther McVey, Amber Rudd, and David Gauke),wrote to the Chancellor in July to ask him to maintain the “additional resources” put into Universal Credit during the pandemic. The letter was quoted in the Telegraph as calling for “the current funding for individuals in the Universal Credit envelope to be kept at the current level”.

In a recent open letter to Boris Johnson, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation urged the Prime Minister to 'Keep the Lifeline' urged the Government not to go ahead with the planned £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit.

It stated: 'We are rapidly approaching a national crossroads which will reveal the true depth of the Government’s commitment to improving the lives of families on the lowest incomes.

"We all want a social security system that supports families to escape poverty rather than pulling them deeper into it. However, this cut risks causing immense, immediate, and avoidable hardship. A strong social security system is a crucial first step to building back better. We strongly urge you to make the right decision.'

Mr Lambert added: “It is increasingly obvious that the Government simply does not care that almost half those receiving Universal Credit are already in work - and can’t work any more hours. Working people, many with young families, are facing a day-to-day struggle as the Government cuts welfare support.

"With more than one in ten residents will be being worse off as a result of this cut with 31% of families who are already struggling by this Government’s heartless decisions, the decision to cut Universal Credit in the face of Brexit induced price rises, fuel cost increases is frankly out of touch and heartless.”