CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Cutting £20 off benefits is not just cruel, it’s depraved

09 September, 2021

‘The government’s proposed termination of the Universal Credit uplift is depraved’

• I AGREE whole­heartedly with your leader Comment regarding the government’s proposed termination of the Universal Credit uplift, (Removing the £20 Universal Credit uplift is cruel, September 2).

But I would go one step further. In my view this step is actually depraved.

You rightly point out that we live in a very economically diverse borough where extreme wealth abuts desperate poverty and it is also true that the poorest in our communities have been hit hardest in the pocket by the pandemic.

Families, many of whom are working, some who are not, key workers, selfless heroes of the NHS and many more, have become accustomed to seeking basic necessities from charities and other organisations as a matter of day-to-day living.

That in itself is completely unacceptable and should not be tolerated as a default position in our society.

As one runs through the categories of those who will be adversely affected by this monstrous assault on civility you eventually reach the homeless and rough-sleeping community.

I’m fortunate to have spent a great deal of time with these people during the pandemic through my volunteering with the homeless outreach initiative called Streets Kitchen.

Many and various reasons exist that can cause a person to find themselves on the street. It is a huge mistake to pass judgment on an individual’s situation when what is really required is patience, kindness, and assistance.

My pals who are living rough are already on the edge of a terrifying precipice and the reduction of their benefits by £20 per week could push many of them over the edge.

In cold terms, that amount is the difference between being able to pay for a hostel for one night or cowering in a doorway hoping that you can see it through till the morning without being assaulted or freezing to death.

I have written to my MP Sir Keir Starmer to ask that he do everything within his powers to prevent the neediest in our society from becoming even more exposed to danger than they already are. And I would urge your readers to do the same.

As winter approaches this really is going to become a life or death scenario. We must not let our fellow beings down. If we do, we will have lost our humanity.

PHIL COWAN
Albert Terrace, NW1

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