A visible force for change.

Press Release

Embargo: 00:01am 6th October 2021

Universal Credit Cut Turns the Lights Out


Millions of families have experienced the biggest ever overnight cut to social security with this £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit. This will be felt by those with the least across our society and will cause rising poverty, debt, homelessness and hunger. WRDA and other Frontline charities are worried about how they will cope with rising demand for support. To mark the impact of this cut on local families the lights on Belfast City Hall will be turned off tonight from 8pm to 10pm.

The cost of living is rising but families on Universal Credit are losing £86 from their monthly incomes. The Chancellor’s decision undermines the Government’s commitment to level up and goes against the warnings of charities, doctors, economists and politicians across the political spectrum, including many of Northern Ireland’s MPs and local leaders. This cut will impact over 100,000 families in Northern Ireland.

At the start of the pandemic, the Chancellor rightly said that he was introducing the £20 increase to “strengthen the safety net” – a tacit admission that a decade of cuts and freezes had left it unfit to provide the support families need. The support offered has now been cut down to completely inadequate levels.

Life is full of crises that we cannot plan for, such as job loss or illness, and periods of lower earnings or caring responsibilities. We all need the security and stability of a strong lifeline, not just during a national crisis, but every day.

The Government must now do what is right and reinstate the £20 to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit at the Autumn Budget and ensure families on legacy benefits, such us Employment Support Allowance, Job Seekers Allowance and Income Support, are included.



Further Information:

Megan McClure Botha

07704267344 | info@wrda.net

Women’s Resource & Development Agency

Communications & Membership Worker



Notes to Editors:

1. Universal Credit is a means-tested social security benefit for people on a low income or who are out of work. It replaces six ‘legacy’ benefits for working-age people – Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

2. The Chancellor announced the £20/week increase to Universal Credit and Tax Credits as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic but it is due to end on 6th October.

3. The Women’s Resource & Development Agency works regionally to advance women’s equality and participation in society. Our vision is of a fair and equal society where women are empowered and are a visible force for change and influence in all areas of life. We are a Partner in the Women’s Regional Consortium

4. The Women’s Regional Consortium consists of seven established women’s sector organisations that are committed to working in partnership with each other, government, statutory organisations and women’s organisations, centres and groups in disadvantaged and rural areas, to ensure that organisations working for women are given the best possible support in the work they do in tackling disadvantage and social exclusion. The seven groups are Training for Women Network (TWN), Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA), Women’s Support Network (WSN), Northern Ireland Rural Women’s Network (NIRWN), Women’s TEC, Women’s Centre Derry and Foyle Women’s Information Network (FWIN).