Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has again urged the government not to continue the £ 20 weekly universal loan cut after new research was released suggesting more than six million people faced energy poverty this winter.
He said an analysis by Professor Jonathan Bradshaw and Dr. Antonia Keung of the University of York has shown that 3.4 million households with 6.3 million adults and children will not be able to pay the soaring gas and electricity bills this winter without cutting their food bills.
The study also showed that 840,000 people fell into energy poverty this week after gas and electricity price hikes on October 1.
Mr Brown has sent the investigation to government ministers and has described the results as “shocking”.
He said, “It is not too late for the government to save millions of people from choosing between heating and eating this winter.
“The York research is further evidence that families still desperately need the helping hand of the government to survive this winter and this Covid pandemic and beyond.
“I sent the research to Ministers with a note asking them to urgently reconsider the immoral payout of £ 20 a week to Universal Credit this week.
“It’s not the way to save government money as fuel hikes are at the forefront this week.
“The time is not right to abandon the families who need government help most.
“Saving people’s plight and enabling families to both eat and heat is a very fundamental investment in the future of our nation.”
A government spokesman said, “We have always realized that the universal credit increase was temporary. It was designed to help applicants through the economic shock and financial disruption during the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.
“The Universal Loan will continue to provide vital assistance to both the unemployed and the unemployed, and it is right that the government focus on our plan for jobs, helping people get back into work and helping those already in work move forward and earn more. “
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