Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs has backed the Labour Party’s proposals to overhaul Universal Credit (UC), describing the plans as a “much-needed reform that would benefit many families in Tower Hamlets.”

Labour has announced it would reduce the taper rate, which currently means that for every £1 earned over the work allowance payment is reduced by 63p. Reducing the rate will enable low-income workers to earn more without seeing their welfare payments cut as a consequence.

The Mayor has also reiterated his calls for the Government to scrap its plans to cut UC by £20 per week, which is due to come into effect this autumn. This week the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also joined forces to call on Boris Johnson to scrap the UC cut.

Figures released earlier this summer showed that across Tower Hamlets, the number of households on Universal Credit has increased by 127%, from 16,526 households in February 2020 to 37,566 households in February 2021.

The Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust has recently said that the planned cut to UC “will be the biggest overnight cut to social security since the Second World War… and could push more than a million people through the doors of foodbanks this winter.”

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “I welcome Labour’s plans to overhaul Universal Credit and replace it with a fairer social security system. Reducing the taper rate is a much-needed reform that would benefit many families in Tower Hamlets and would enable people to keep more of their pay.

“Time is also running out for Boris Johnson to reverse his plans to cut Universal Credit. Taking £1,000 a year from millions of struggling families is shameful and will hurt many in Tower Hamlets.”

Councillor Mufeedah Bustin, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, said: “The Tories refuse to admit that many Universal Credit claimants are actually in work and that the system is failing to give them the support they need. Reducing the taper rate will help tackle the record level of in-work poverty that we have in this country.

“We’ve consistently lobbied the Government on Universal Credit and hope they will see sense.”

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