THIS week the government ends much of the financial support provided to help people through the Covid-19 pandemic and next week it plans to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week. These cuts risk a long Covid debt crisis as 11 million people have built up £25 billion in arrears and debt since March 2020. 

In Hove, 9,676 people who receive Universal Credit will be affected by this cut. This includes 3,998 people who are also currently in-work.

Problem debt disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in our society, and is higher amongst low-income households, women, lone parents, communities of colour, disabled people and renters.  

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A ‘long Covid debt hangover’ threatens to weigh down our community for years, worsening inequalities and making a genuine economic recovery impossible. 

As well as stopping the proposed £20 cut to Universal Credit the government seriously needs to tackle problem debt in the UK – this means introducing grants and making it easier for those in problem debt to write it down in a fair and manageable way. 

Shiva Gauri