Community facing ‘perfect storm’ as Universal Credit uplift cut, charity warns
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Community facing ‘perfect storm’ as Universal Credit uplift cut, charity warns

Paperweight, a communal advice service, warns of a difficult winter ahead as the cost of living surges and incomes are hit.

Client numbers have surged according to Paperweight
Client numbers have surged according to Paperweight

A charity has warned the community is facing a “perfect storm” going into the winter, after the Universal Credit uplift was cut this week.

Paperweight, a communal advice service, says its demand had already exploded during the pandemic, and that it could yet increase even further as furlough is also withdrawn and the cost of living surges.

Its director of services, Caroline Kahan, warned that the withdrawal of the £20 a week uplift would hit the poorest in the community hardest. 

“It’s really a perfect storm, it’s all happening at once,” she told Jewish News

“To a degree everyone will struggle, it’s going to be a really difficult winter, but there are certain groups of people who will struggle more than others.”

Brought in at the start of the pandemic, the uplift withdrawal is expected to hit around 4.4m households, who will see a reduction in their incomes of around £1,000.

Furlough, which officially ended at the end of September, could also hammer the incomes of its service users, she said. 

In addition, a moratorium on eviction bans has put those with rent arrears built up over the pandemic at risk of losing their homes.

To those affected and needing support, she stressed: “Take advice at the earliest opportunity, to make sure you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to.”

The small charity is seeking to recruit new suitably trained volunteer caseworkers to meet the demand going into next year. 

“We’re always looking for suitably trained volunteers because demand is growing exponentially,” she said.

She added: “We’re not talking about someone in a different area, we’re talking about people who live in my street, your street, we’re talking about the whole community.”

To learn more about Paperweight’s services or to find out more details about becoming a volunteer caseworker, visit paperweight.org.uk.

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