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City MP praises work of local charity supporting young families as Universal Credit cut looms

Stephen Morgan MP has praised the work of a local charity supporting young families as the impacts of cuts to Universal Credit loom.

Based on Crasswell Street, the Roberts Centre offers a wide range of services for young families, including support and assistance to families in addressing their situation of homelessness or dealing with the issues of relationship breakdown.

The centre receives charitable donations from many individuals, churches and other organisations, and has around 50 dedicated volunteers who work alongside employed staff. It regularly collaborates on city-wide initiatives.

However, despite the work of the Roberts Centre and various other local groups, the Portsmouth MP has warned of the impacts the UK government’s plans to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week from October will have in the city.

According to the Trussell Trust, the government’s plans would be ‘the biggest overnight cut to social security since the Second World War affecting people both in and out of work’ and would risk ‘pushing families and individuals under’.

A new survey by YouGov, on behalf of the Trussell Trust, found in the South East, that:

  • 1 in 5 people (20%) say they will ‘very likely’ need to skip meals if Universal Credit is cut – equivalent to over 134,000 people.
  • 1 in 4 people (24%) say they will ‘very likely’ be unable to afford to heat their homes this winter if Universal Credit is cut – equivalent to 161,000 people.
  • 1 in 7 people (15%) say they very likely wouldn’t have enough money to travel to work or to essential appointments on public transport if Universal Credit is cut – equivalent to 101,000 people.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The Roberts Centre has done tremendous work over the years supporting local young families in very difficult situations, working with a number of local partners to offer the best and greatest amount of support they can. But local families need more support from central government.

“The government’s callous decision to cut Universal Credit in October will have severe consequences for many families in Portsmouth that are already struggling.

“It cannot be right to pull the rug from underneath families that are in the most desperate need of support right now. I will be doing all I can over the next few weeks to ensure that does not become a reality.”