Housing association CEO critical of ‘catastrophic’ Universal Credit cut for poorest paid workers

Lee Bloomfield, MHA Chief Executive

The chief executive of one of the country’s leading BME housing associations has said that the Government’s plan to cut Universal Credit by £20 per week will be “catastrophic” for some of the poorest paid workers and their families.

Lee Bloomfield, who has led Bradford-based Manningham Housing Association since 2018, said he feared that the fall in financial support will be “devastating for those who already have so little to lose.”

It is estimated that six million of the least well-off households will see their income slashed by around £1,000 a year.

In a statement, Mr Bloomfield said: “The Government announced its intention to proceed with this cut some time ago, but I had hoped that a blend of good sense and decency would ultimately prevail.

“Instead, this week we have seen the Work and Pensions Secretary touring television studios with the message that she is ‘entirely happy’ for the reduction to go ahead from the end of this month.

“This cut will impact on a third of working age families with children across the country, but that will be far from evenly spread.

“Instead, deprived communities in places like Bradford and Keighley, where Manningham Housing Association operates, will be disproportionately affected.

“With furlough also coming to end this month, the cost of living significantly on the rise and National Insurance contributions due to increase in the spring, I fear there will be catastrophic consequences for some of the poorest paid workers and their families in Bradford, Keighley and elsewhere.

“The reduction in Universal Credit payments will be devastating for those who already have so little to lose.

“I urge the Government to think again and, at the very least, pause this cut until its likely impact is properly assessed.

“And If they really want to do the right thing, they should halt it altogether.”