NEWS  ⁄  ECONOMY & ENTERPRISE

Exeter workers to be among hardest hit by £20 cut in universal credit

Analysis shows proportion of benefit claimants in Exeter in work is among highest in country.

COVID-19  

Analysis by the TUC has found that workers in Exeter will be among the worst affected in England when the £20 per week universal credit top-up ends on October 6.

The uplift, worth just over £1000 per year, was introduced as a temporary measure in March 2020 to help claimants cope with the financial disruption caused by the pandemic.

According to analysis published by the TUC, 42.1% of universal credit claimants in the South West were in work in May 2021, but earning low incomes which qualify them for the benefit.

In Exeter the figure was higher still, at 43.4%.

Job Centre Plus entrance Photo: J.J.Ellison under Creative Commons license

The analysis has highlighted the culture of low pay in the region. Even before the pandemic, the area with the lowest average wages in the UK was North Devon.

The South West is heavily reliant on retail, hospitality and tourism for employment, sectors in which employees often have low-paid, insecure jobs which were significantly affected by the pandemic.

Emma Congreve of the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute said the TUC’s findings revealed “a long-standing issue of low pay in sectors that have been particularly affected, meaning they are more likely to tip over the threshold into being able to claim universal credit.

“The pandemic has exposed a number of underlying inequalities in the labour market.”

Katie Schmuecker of Joseph Rowntree Foundation called the end of the uplift “the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the Second World War”.

There have been renewed calls to make the £20 uplift permanent as its abolition approaches.

Analysis by Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows more than a third of working-age families in 413 parliamentary constituencies would be hit by the cut, 191 of which are represented by Conservatives.

Conservative MPs Peter Aldous and John Stevenson wrote to Boris Johnson last month, describing universal credit as “a system that can better protect families when they face hardship” and asking him to reconsider the cut.

In response, the Prime Minister said that the government’s preference would be for a “jobs-led recovery”, echoing Work and Pensions Minister Therese Coffey’s comments to MPs in July that the focus of support should be “strongly [on] getting people into work and jobs”.

Last week one hundred organisations, including charities, public health experts, paediatricians and Bright Blue, a Conservative thinktank, signed a letter calling on Boris Johnson to abandon the planned cut, saying the reduction would push half a million people, of which 200,000 are children, into poverty.

This week footballer Marcus Rashford, who led a successful campaign last year against government plans to cut free school meals during the summer holidays, and who has previously challenged the chancellor on the universal credit cut, urged the government to end threats to social security payments and instead end what he called a pandemic of child hunger.

Yesterday work and pensions minister Baroness Stedman-Scott told the House of Lords that her department had not carried out a formal assessment of the impact of cutting the universal credit uplift, which has been in place for 19 months, as it was “introduced as a temporary measure” and “we have no obligation to conduct an impact assessment as we’re returning to business as usual”.

2.3 million workers in the UK are currently receiving universal credit, while 38% of all universal credit claimants are in work.


 is a court reporter and NCTJ Diploma student who is doing portfolio work experience with Exeter Observer.

Recent stories
Exeter City Council 2022 annual meeting 17 May 2022

Labour councillors appointed to all fourteen city council committee chairs at annual meeting

Exeter City Council party seat distribution after 2022 local elections

Greens take three seats from Labour so Progressive Group replaces Conservatives as official opposition

2022-23 band D council tax charges ranges (England)

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Coda: Council tax

2022 Exeter local elections guide graphic

2022 Exeter local elections guide

Climate delay discourse typology

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Part III: Climate & environment


Help power our public interest journalism

More News
Net Zero Exeter 2030 plan cover edit

Exeter City Council abandons city 2030 decarbonisation "ambition"

Unannounced decision to exclude scope 3 emissions constituting around 43% of Exeter's carbon footprint from "net zero" plans effectively ensures city will not meet its decarbonisation goals.

Exeter Ukrainian refugee support hub Conversation Café

Ukrainian refugee support hub opens in Exeter city centre

Conversation Café pop-up offers information, resources, events and meeting space to help cut through the confusion surrounding the Homes for Ukraine scheme and enable Devon's response to the crisis.

Individual overseas ownership of Exeter property titles 2010 to 2021 bar chart

Individual overseas ownership of Exeter property triples in ten years

350% rise greater than in Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster, increasing housing costs, reducing home ownership levels and harming housing affordability.

All News
Analysis
Exeter City Council 2022 annual meeting 17 May 2022

Labour councillors appointed to all fourteen city council committee chairs at annual meeting

Council leader falsely claims "overwhelming majority" voted Labour in Exeter local elections while circumvention of council decision-making scrutiny continues.

Exeter City Council party seat distribution after 2022 local elections

Greens take three seats from Labour so Progressive Group replaces Conservatives as official opposition

Conservative loss in Topsham among significant vote share changes in 2022 Exeter City Council elections suggesting city's political landscape in flux.

2022-23 band D council tax charges ranges (England)

Do Exeter Labour election campaign claims stand up to scrutiny? Coda: Council tax

The last part of our 2022 local elections series is a coda examining Exeter Labour's claim that the city has one of the lowest rates of council tax in the country.

All Analysis
Comment
Cargo bike carrying kids in Exeter

If you think electric vehicles are the answer, you're asking the wrong question

Mike Walton of Exeter Cycling Campaign says we shouldn't be seduced by the motoring lobby into believing that electric cars can create the future we and our children need.

Net Zero Exeter logo

Is Exeter City Council going to abandon its Net Zero 2030 target?

Review suggests alignment with Devon Carbon Plan, currently aimed at 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050, citing "technical and financial challenges ahead", although change in policy would require decision by councillors after 6 May local elections.

Centre for Cities Exeter City Monitor graphic

Selective use of statistics presents an unbalanced account of Exeter's economic & environmental status

Exeter City Council's Chief Executive uses statistics to show the city in a good light, but in doing so presents a picture which omits important information about the city's true position.

All Comment
All topics

ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY   AFFORDABILITY AFFORDABILITY AFFORDABILITY   AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY AIR QUALITY   ALPHINGTON & COWICK ALPHINGTON & COWICK ALPHINGTON & COWICK   ALPHINGTON ALPHINGTON ALPHINGTON   BONHAY MEADOWS BONHAY MEADOWS BONHAY MEADOWS   CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE   COP26 COP26 COP26   COVID-19 COVID-19 COVID-19   CITYPOINT CITYPOINT CITYPOINT   CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE CLIFTON HILL SPORTS CENTRE   CLIMATE CRISIS CLIMATE CRISIS CLIMATE CRISIS   CO-LIVING CO-LIVING CO-LIVING   CONGESTION CONGESTION CONGESTION   COUNCIL TAX COUNCIL TAX COUNCIL TAX   COVERING CLIMATE NOW COVERING CLIMATE NOW COVERING CLIMATE NOW   CROWN ESTATE CROWN ESTATE CROWN ESTATE   CYCLING & WALKING CYCLING & WALKING CYCLING & WALKING   DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT   DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER DEVON & CORNWALL POLICE & CRIME COMMISSIONER   DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN DEVON CARBON PLAN   DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL DEVON COUNTY COUNCIL   DEVON GREEN NEW DEAL DEVON GREEN NEW DEAL DEVON GREEN NEW DEAL   DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND DEVON PENSION FUND   DURYARD & ST. JAMES DURYARD & ST. JAMES DURYARD & ST. JAMES   EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   ELECTRIC VEHICLES ELECTRIC VEHICLES ELECTRIC VEHICLES   EXE ESTUARY EXE ESTUARY EXE ESTUARY   EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT EXETER AIRPORT   EXETER CANAL AND QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL AND QUAY TRUST EXETER CANAL AND QUAY TRUST   EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL EXETER CATHEDRAL   EXETER CITY COUNCIL EXETER CITY COUNCIL EXETER CITY COUNCIL   EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES EXETER CITY FUTURES   EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING EXETER CITY LIVING   EXETER CIVIC SOCIETY EXETER CIVIC SOCIETY EXETER CIVIC SOCIETY   EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE EXETER COLLEGE   EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE EXETER CULTURE   EXETER CUSTOM HOUSE EXETER CUSTOM HOUSE EXETER CUSTOM HOUSE   EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND EXETER DEVELOPMENT FUND   EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION EXETER EXTINCTION REBELLION   EXETER LIVE BETTER EXETER LIVE BETTER EXETER LIVE BETTER   EXETER LOCAL PLAN EXETER LOCAL PLAN EXETER LOCAL PLAN   EXETER PHOENIX EXETER PHOENIX EXETER PHOENIX   EXETER PRIDE EXETER PRIDE EXETER PRIDE   EXETER SCIENCE PARK EXETER SCIENCE PARK EXETER SCIENCE PARK   EXETER SHIP CANAL EXETER SHIP CANAL EXETER SHIP CANAL   EXETER ST. DAVID'S EXETER ST. DAVID'S EXETER ST. DAVID'S   EXETER TRANSPORT STRATEGY EXETER TRANSPORT STRATEGY EXETER TRANSPORT STRATEGY   EXETER UCU EXETER UCU EXETER UCU   EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE EXETER CITY CENTRE   EXWICK EXWICK EXWICK   FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT   FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FREEDOM OF INFORMATION   FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE EXETER   GENERAL ELECTIONS GENERAL ELECTIONS GENERAL ELECTIONS   GUILDHALL GUILDHALL GUILDHALL   HARLEQUINS HARLEQUINS HARLEQUINS   HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP HEART OF THE SOUTH WEST LEP   HEAVITREE & WHIPTON BARTON HEAVITREE & WHIPTON BARTON HEAVITREE & WHIPTON BARTON   HEAVITREE HEAVITREE HEAVITREE   HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION HOUSES IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION   HOUSING HOUSING HOUSING   LGBTQIA+ LGBTQIA+ LGBTQIA+   LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD LIVEABLE EXETER PLACE BOARD   LIVEABLE EXETER LIVEABLE EXETER LIVEABLE EXETER   LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY LOCAL INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY   LOCAL ELECTIONS LOCAL ELECTIONS LOCAL ELECTIONS   MAKETANK MAKETANK MAKETANK   MARSH BARTON MARSH BARTON MARSH BARTON   MET OFFICE MET OFFICE MET OFFICE   MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL MID DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL   MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON BARTON MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON BARTON MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON BARTON   MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON MINCINGLAKE & WHIPTON   MOUNT RADFORD LAWN MOUNT RADFORD LAWN MOUNT RADFORD LAWN   NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER NET ZERO EXETER   NEWTOWN & ST. LEONARD'S NEWTOWN & ST. LEONARD'S NEWTOWN & ST. LEONARD'S   NORTHERNHAY GARDENS NORTHERNHAY GARDENS NORTHERNHAY GARDENS   OXYGEN HOUSE OXYGEN HOUSE OXYGEN HOUSE   PARIS STREET PARIS STREET PARIS STREET   PARKING PARKING PARKING   PASSIVHAUS PASSIVHAUS PASSIVHAUS   PENINSULA RAIL TASK FORCE PENINSULA RAIL TASK FORCE PENINSULA RAIL TASK FORCE   PENINSULA TRANSPORT PENINSULA TRANSPORT PENINSULA TRANSPORT   PENNSYLVANIA PENNSYLVANIA PENNSYLVANIA   PINHOE PINHOE PINHOE   PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY PLANNING POLICY   PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY PRINCESSHAY   PRIORY PRIORY PRIORY   PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT   PUBLIC CONSULTATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION PUBLIC CONSULTATION   PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH   PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM PUBLIC REALM   PUBLIC TOILETS PUBLIC TOILETS PUBLIC TOILETS   PURPOSE BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PURPOSE BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION PURPOSE BUILT STUDENT ACCOMMODATION   RAMM RAMM RAMM   REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING REFUSE & RECYCLING   RETROFIT RETROFIT RETROFIT   RIVERSIDE VALLEY PARK RIVERSIDE VALLEY PARK RIVERSIDE VALLEY PARK   ROYAL DEVON & EXETER NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON & EXETER NHS TRUST ROYAL DEVON & EXETER NHS TRUST   SIDWELL STREET SIDWELL STREET SIDWELL STREET   SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION SOUTH WEST EXETER EXTENSION   SOUTH WEST WATER SOUTH WEST WATER SOUTH WEST WATER   SOUTHERNHAY SOUTHERNHAY SOUTHERNHAY   SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT SPORT ENGLAND LOCAL DELIVERY PILOT   ST. DAVID'S ST. DAVID'S ST. DAVID'S   ST. LOYE'S ST. LOYE'S ST. LOYE'S   ST. SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE ST. SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE ST. SIDWELL'S COMMUNITY CENTRE   ST. SIDWELL'S POINT ST. SIDWELL'S POINT ST. SIDWELL'S POINT   ST. THOMAS ST. THOMAS ST. THOMAS   STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST STAGECOACH SOUTH WEST   TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL TEIGNBRIDGE DISTRICT COUNCIL   TOPSHAM TOPSHAM TOPSHAM   UNESCO CITY OF LITERATURE UNESCO CITY OF LITERATURE UNESCO CITY OF LITERATURE   UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UNIVERSITY OF EXETER   YOUTH STRIKE 4 CLIMATE YOUTH STRIKE 4 CLIMATE YOUTH STRIKE 4 CLIMATE  

More stories