Help available in Barking and Dagenham as 32k hit by universal credit cut in borough

Barking Town Hall

Anyone worried about the universal credit uplift ending or struggling financially can get help and support services from the council. - Credit: Ken Mears

The universal credit (UC) cut could affect tens of thousands of people in Barking and Dagenham after claims tripled in the borough during the pandemic.

People worried about the removal of the £20 weekly UC uplift or struggling to make ends meet have been urged not to “suffer in silence”, with a number of help and support services available.

The latest data from the government's Department for Work and Pensions reveals 32,255 people in Barking and Dagenham were claiming UC in July 2021.

This was a 211 per cent increase on July 2019, when there were 10,360 claimants.

The number of people receiving UC in Barking and Dagenham in July this year increased 12.7pc from 28,620 at the same time last year - the 27th highest percentage increase out of 365 local authorities.

The payment cut follows the end of the furlough scheme and comes ahead of a planned increase to national insurance next April.

Cllr Sade Bright, cabinet member for employment, skills and aspiration, said: “We know that the past year and a half have been very difficult for a number of residents - a fact which will be made much more difficult with the end of furlough and the removal of the universal credit uplift.


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“I would like to assure residents that they are not on their own and should not suffer in silence.

“They should please get in touch for advice, help and support in the first instance.”

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Support available from the council includes:

  • People struggling financially can apply to join a community food club, which gives them access to roughly £20 per week worth of food as well as advice and support with finance, health, training and more. Visit lbbd.gov.uk/community-food-clubs for more information. 
  • The money and debt pages on the council website provide an income and expenditure calculator and budgeting tools, helping people to work out where they can make savings.
  • Get help to find work from the council's Job Shops.
  • Those who need help with emergency living expenses such as food, fuel, travel, household appliances or clothing in exceptional circumstances can apply to the council’s hardship fund for an individual assistance payment.
  • People can also contact the homes and money hub by calling 020 8227 2115, emailing homesandmoneyhub@lbbd.gov.uk or dropping in to Barking Learning Centre and Dagenham Library from 9am to 4pm on weekdays.

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