Brown warns of ‘community revolt’ amid call to scrap Universal Credit plans

Former prime minister Gordon Brown is calling on the Chancellor to scrap plans to abolish the £20 a week Universal Credit addition currently paid to millions of families.

Mr Brown said the real value of child benefits must be increased to prevent child poverty falling to levels not seen since official records began.

In a speech to the Resolution Foundation, Mr Brown warned that failure to act urgently will lead to “community revolt”.

He said research by the Resolution Foundation showing that unemployment and reduced wages had already cut into the incomes of millions of families was a “must read” for the Government.

Mr Brown said: “Action is now urgent because March’s planned withdrawal of £20 from weekly Universal Credit payments will automatically bring 700,000 more into poverty, 300,000 of them children, as £6 billion of spending power is removed from an already fragile economy.

“500,000 of the already poor will be plunged into even deeper poverty as they lose out £1,000 a year.

“Add to this the impact of rising unemployment, rising food prices and the continuing impact of the two-child limit and the cap on benefits and other social security cuts now in train, and we face a worsening social crisis in the new year.

“I am making this call for urgent action after studying today’s important Resolution Foundation study showing that unemployment and reduced wages have already cut into the family incomes of the poorest 20% and that millions of families face the pressures of Christmas with falling savings or savings reduced to zero, and thus little cash to buy even the most basic of Christmas presents for their children without going into debt.”