Gary Neville says it is ‘brutal’ to reduce Universal Credit as £20-a-week uplift comes to end

‘I work on the theory that people at home aren’t sitting here lazy

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 06 October 2021 14:27
Comments
Gary Neville tears into Tories for their ‘divisive and dangerous language’

Gary Neville has said it was “brutal” to reduce Universal Credit payments at this time, as a £20-a-week cut came into force.

An estimated six million were set to be hit by a reduction in income as the uplift - introduced at the start of the pandemic - stopped being implemented.

Former England footballer Neville joined charities and think-tanks in criticising the move in an interview on Wednesday - the day the changes started being implemented.

“Honestly, to remove Universal Credit payments at this moment in time, it is brutal,” he told Good Morning Britain (GMB).

He continued: “Let’s be clear. It is brutal.”

His comments came after former health minister Edwina Currie told GMB it “doesn’t make any kind of sense to pay people to stay at home” and the “best benefit is a job”.

Neville told the programme: “I trust the population of this country. I work on the theory that people at home aren’t sitting there lazy.

“They really want a good job. They really want to get good pay. They really want their mental health to be sorted.”

The football pundit added: “They aren’t there sitting and thinking, ‘I’m going to take the chancellor’s money and live off their money for the next 10, 15 years and do nothing’.”

From Wednesday, no assessments will include the £20-a-week uplift to Universal Credit, which came into force during the Covid pandemic to support the UK’s poorest.

This change means that from 13 October - a week later - no payments will be received that include the extra money.

Food banks have said they were expecting a surge in demand for their services following the changes, which have sparked concerns hundreds of thousands will be plunged into poverty.

Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, defended the £20 weekly cut on Wednesday, as the move faced fierce backlash from charities.

“As we come through the pandemic, with youth unemployment going down, employment going up, we need to transition,” he told Sky News. “We don’t want to see people reliant on the welfare trap.”

A government spokesperson said: “We’ve always been clear that the uplift to Universal Credit was temporary. It was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.

“Universal Credit will continue to provide vital support for those both in and out of work and it’s right that the government should focus on our Plan for Jobs, supporting people back into work and supporting those already employed to progress and earn more.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in