LABOUR politicians have challenged a borough's Tory MP to vote against the government's proposed cut in Universal Credit payments after its Full Council meeting voted to oppose the move.

The £20-a-week uplift to the benefit for low income families is due to be scrapped on October 6.,

On Thursday night Hyndburn Council passed a motion condemning the proposal with most Conservatives voting in favour.

And Clayton-le-Moors councillor Tim O'Kane asked Hyndburn and Haslindgen MP Sara Britcliffe, a Parliamentary aide to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi to vote against the cut in Parliament.

Conservative leader Cllr Marlene Haworth gave her group a free vote, saying many had mixed feelings. She and all but three Tory councillors voted for the motion.

Cllr O'Kane said: "When I submitted this motion the figure of Universal Credit claimants stood at 10,882. Latest figures show a 4.9 per cent increase to 11,360 in the Hyndburn and Haslingden constituency. In Hyndburn Borough we have 9,730 claimants as opposed to 9,016 last year.

Of those claimants 3,651 are in work. That’s 40 per cent who are in work in Hyndburn who face having a £20 a week cut in their earnings at a time when the price of heating is going through the roof and food prices are going up.

"I am urging our MP to break the habit of her political lifetime in parliament and vote against a callous measure that she has voted for despite the overwhelming proof that it will impact not only on the 3,651 families in Hyndburn

"Don’t make it even more stressful for people already suffering.

"This year for many in Hyndburn it’s a choice between 'Eat Up or Heat Up'."

Cllr Haworth said after the meeting: "The money to pay for this has to come from somewhere. It was only ever intended as a temporary increase."

Miss Britcliffe said: "The temporary measures the government put in place during the pandemic were vital in supporting people across Hyndburn and Haslingden through incredibly difficult times. These included the furlough scheme, support for many businesses and the temporary uplift to Universal Credit.

"I know that some people have apprehensions about some of these measures coming to an end and I can understand those concerns. As we come out of the pandemic, our focus needs to be on getting people into well-paid jobs and boosting wages."

Overton Labour councillor Michael Hindley called for a recorded vote. Mayor Kath Pratt and Conservatives Steve Smithson and Carole Haythornthwaite abstained.Tory councillors Peter Britcliffe and Josh Allen were not present.