NEW figures show that thousands of people across East Lancashire, including over 15,000 in Blackburn, are set to be hit by a Universal Credit cut.

This comes as a result of the government's plans to scrap the Universal Credit uplift of £20 per week, due to come into effect on October 6 this year.

According to the Lancashire Association of Trades Union Councils, this could have a devastating impact both for those claiming the benefit while unemployed and for people in work who need Universal Credit to support their incomes.

An LATUC spokesperson said: "For many of these people Universal Credit is their only source of income, with a majority of those on Universal Credit out of work and without a working partner."

Turning to the impact this could have across the country, they added: "At the start of the pandemic 2.6 million families were claiming Universal Credit but, since then, the number has nearly doubled to 5 million in February 2021.

"The Nuffield Foundation found that the £20 uplift represents a significant share in entitlements for many claimants, in particular those who are single without children, are not liable for rent, or are not judged to have a work limiting disability, all groups that have increased in frequency since the eve of the pandemic."

The figures, collected by the TUC, show that a total of 15,208 are currently on Universal Credit in Blackburn, of which 5,199 are in work.

Meanwhile, in the constituency of Rossendale and Darwen 8,815 people are claiming the benefit.

In Hyndburn the number stands at 10,882, with 12,776 in Burnley, 9,692 in Pendle and 5,346 in the Ribble Valley.

In total over 53,000 people across East Lancashire set to be impacted by the cut in October, a substantial proportion of which are already in work.

The figures have been revealed not long after a report in July by the Centre for Cities showed that Blackburn was set to be the fifth worst affected town in England by the scrapping of the uplift, with Burnley the fourth worst hit.

Speaking at the time, Blackburn Labour MP Kate Hollern said: "The retention of the £20 uplift had cross party support so it is deeply disappointing that the government is determined to scrap this important measure.

"The uplift was by no means perfect, as ESA claimants are not eligible for instance, but it has made a huge difference as people have struggled over the past year and continue to struggle.

She added: "Those on the lowest incomes have been hardest hit during the pandemic, most of their income goes on essentials."

In response, the LATUC has sent all of Lancashire's MPs from the governing Conservative Party copies of a letter, written by fellow Conservatives John Stevenson MP and Pater Aldous MP urging prime minister Boris Johnson to make the uplift permanent.

They said: "This could be one of our best legacies from the pandemic and can provide the cornerstone of a social security system of which, as Conservatives, we can be proud."

However, Mr Johnson has indicated that there are no plans to change course.

Speaking to broadcasters last week, he said: "My strong preference is for people to see their wages rise through their efforts rather than through taxation of other people put into their pay packets."