THE £20 per week cut to Universal Credit could mean domestic abuse victims are forced to choose between escaping dangerous situations and having enough money to survive.
Thousands of women could be left in significant risk by the changes, says the charity Refuge.
It is calling for ministers to do a U-turn and keep the £20 Universal Credit boost, which was initially introduced to help struggling families survive the pandemic.
The uplift is scheduled to be wound up through the end of September, meaning claimants will be £1,040 a year worse off from October 6.
Refuge’s CEO, Ruth Davison, told the Sunday Mirror: “Scrapping [the uplift] will push already vulnerable women and children further into poverty.
“We’ve seen domestic abuse cases surge in the last 18 months. UC is a lifeline for survivors trying to flee abuse and rebuild their lives.”
The charity has said that two-thirds of abuse survivors using shelters rely on the extra Universal Credit payments.
Refuge also says that there are 1.6million people who have been subject to economic abuse during the pandemic. It has warned that the cuts could be devastating for these victims too.
Ms. Davison is the latest in a long series of charity bosses who have called for the government to keep the uplift in place.
Research from think-tank the Legatum Institute calculated that the £20 weekly top-up spared 650,000 more people from destitution.
And charity Turn2Us said the removal of uplift could see 500,000 people “pulled into poverty overnight”.
Almost half of adults on Universal Credit or Tax Credits are worried that the upcoming £20 cut will affect their ability to afford food and one in three said they don’t know if they will be able to continue pay their rent or mortgage without it.
One mum of five told the Sun that the benefit reduction will push her into debt and she will struggle to pay for bills and other essentials.
And new research from Citizens Advice seemed to confirm their fears, showing 2.3million people will be in debt after paying their bills when the boost ends.
Six former former Conservative work and pension secretaries all wrote to chancellor Rishi Sunak asking him to keep the uplift in place.
But the Treasury has repeatedly confirmed its intention to withdraw the extra funds from October 1.
A spokesperson told the Sun: “More than £9bn will have been spent on the uplift by the time it ends in September. It is right that economic support is wound down as we come out of this crisis and we focus on helping people back into work.”
The emergency measures have already been extended once when the closing date was shifted from April 1 to October in the March budget.
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