Fleur Anderson Voices Anger at Universal Credit Cut

Says over 7,000 families in the Putney constituency will be worse off

Fleur Anderson protesting against the Universal Credit cut at Westminster
Fleur Anderson protesting against the Universal Credit cut at Westminster


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Putney MP Fleur Anderson has called on the Government to reconsider the cut to Universal Credit.

She says the decision will leave 7,830 families in the constituency worse off and she has joined all the Wandsworth MPs to vote against the cut.

They believe that the reduction will push thousands more children into poverty and families into debt.

In Putney, there are 4,228 children living in households currently claiming Universal Credit and 41% of claimants are working in one or more jobs.

In response to local need, Wandsworth Foodbank has opened in Roehampton and will be providing local families with food and advice on benefits. This is run with the support of volunteers and donations from supermarkets and local people, including many local schools for the Harvest Festivals.

Fleur Anderson said, “I am so angry that the Government has cut this vital lifeline to local families who need it most. It’s a triple whammy at a time of rising food bills and energy prices. Thousands of people really don’t know how they are going to cope.

“After 11 years in power it is a failure of Government that people are using food banks in record numbers, and these cuts to Universal Credit are only going to make things worse and push even more people into poverty.

“I spoke to a local woman this week who told me that she will be losing £86 a month overnight. That’s a monthly energy bill or a weekly food shop, so it is going to leave people choosing between heating and eating.

“The Government are acting as if the pandemic is over, but many are still suffering. There are almost 2,000 more people claiming Universal Credit for reasons of unemployment than there were last year and furlough has just come to an abrupt end.”

She says that the community are stepping in to fill the gap adding , “I am incredibly grateful to Wandsworth Food Bank and the fantastic group of staff and volunteers who are working hard to help people who are struggling in Roehampton and across the Borough. I am also grateful for the generosity of everyone at All Saints School who made big donation to the food bank for Harvest Festival this week. We all must do what we can to help those in need.”

Fleur Anderson with donations from this year's Harvest Festival
Fleur Anderson with donations from this year's Harvest Festival

Sarah Chapman, Wandsworth Food Bank Advocacy and Communications Manager said, “With fuel prices rising, and the financial impact of the pandemic continuing for many low-income households, this winter will be a bleak one for many local people and families. At Wandsworth Foodbank, we're really concerned about the devastating impact of this week's cut to Universal Credit, which will affect almost 27,000 people across Wandsworth borough and leave many short of income for rent, fuel, food and essentials.

“While four in ten people receiving Universal Credit locally are in work, it's important we understand who else relies on this vital benefit - for instance people who are disabled or ill and can't work, and people who care for a disabled child or family member.

“As Conservative peer Baroness Philippa Stroud said on Wednesday, while calling for the government to rethink this cut: 'Our safety net is supposed to protect vulnerable people and that includes people who are sick, disabled and who have disabled children at this time.'

“In this context it's with mixed feelings that we've just opened two new food bank welcome centres in Wandsworth - in Roehampton, and in Battersea/Nine Elms. These are in addition to our five existing centres which re-opened on 20 September, after 18 months of delivering emergency food to people's homes.

Fleur Anderson with the Roehampton Foodbank volunteers
Fleur Anderson with the Roehampton Foodbank volunteers

“We have mixed feelings because we want to see the end to the need for food banks, but we know this isn't the reality for many people now. We want everyone to have enough income for rent, food and essentials. But until then, we want to make it as easy as possible for local people referred to us to access the emergency food they need, as well as support and advice to help resolve the financial hardships they face.”

Those who are struggling and need a referral to the food bank can contact their DWP Work Advisor, Citizens Advice Wandsworth or Fleur Anderson’s office on fleur.anderson.mp@parliament.uk or 020 7219 3348.

People can also apply to the Council's Discretionary Social Fund and if they live in Wandsworth Borough, they can apply for support grants from Wandsworth Council (even if they have no recourse to public funds). These are grants not loans, so they won't need to pay them back.

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October 8, 2021

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