Footballer Marcus Rashford has further criticised the scrapping of the Universal Credit uplift.
The 23-year-old forward for Manchester United has spearheaded high profile campaigns against child hunger and the cut to Universal Credit that came into force this week.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast TV this morning, Rashford was critical of the government’s decision to end the £20 uplift in Universal Credit introduced at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, saying, “I don’t think that the right point for it to end is when families aren’t in a stable situation, otherwise it makes no sense doing the work that we have done in the past, only to stop doing it in possibly one of the most vital stages”
Marcus Rashford, who yesterday became the University of Manchester’s youngest recipient of an honorary doctorate, said, “The cost of living has definitely increased. It reminds me of my situation when I was younger to be fair, you have got to decide between whether you are going to eat or whether you are going to be warm in the house.
“These are decisions that you don’t want people to go through, never mind children, and there is actually a shortage of food anyway as it is at the moment, as some of the food banks that I work with are experiencing.
“Of course it is something that we are going to have to find an answer to, and quickly too. Because people are out there, and they need the meals, especially going into winter”.
The top-up, set to end this week, was intended as a temporary measure to help people on low incomes during the pandemic.
The benefit is currently claimed by over 5.8 million people in England, Scotland and Wales, almost 40% of whom are in employment.
A YouGov poll in August 2021 showed the public to be divided on the removal of the £20 uplift, with two in five Britons (38%) supporting the move, while an equal share (39%) oppose it.
Anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said the cuts make a “mockery” of the government’s “mission to level up” and that they will pull half a million people into poverty.
No formal impact assessment has been completed by the government on the matter.