MORE than 40,000 people in areas of East Lancashire could lose over £1,000 per year due to cuts in Universal Credit.

On Wednesday (October 6), the Government cut the additional £20 per week Universal Credit uplift which was introduced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many have said that the cut will see families have to choose between food and heating after households are set to be £1,040 worse off despite the winter months with higher energy bills approaching.

In July, 40,747 people across Pendle, Hyndburn, Burnley, Ribble Valley and Rossendale were claiming Universal Credit – nearly 16 per cent of the population.

Burnley has the highest number of people claiming, with 12,704 people seeking help – which equates to 23 per cent of the population.

The second highest population claiming benefits is in Hyndburn where 9,674 people, or 19 per cent of the borough are seeking help. 

In Pendle 17 per cent, which equates to 9,694 people are claiming Universal Credit while 13 per cent of people in Rossendale are claiming - 6,048 people.

The area with the lowest claimants is the Ribble Valley where just 7 per cent of people are seeking support – just 2,627 people. 

County Cllr Julie Gibson, the Labour Group Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration has renewed calls for the Government to scrap the change.

Speaking on BBC Radio Lancashire, she said: “We are about to witness a sharp rise in energy prices.

“At the same time, we are about to witness a cut of £20 a week to Universal Credit despite calls from campaigners to Government to keep the lifeline.

“This will mean many people will be forced into the horrible decision of whether they heat their homes or feed their families.”