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Universal credit cut will hit ‘red wall’ seats hardest, Tories warned

Benefits reduction plan set to have most impact on poorest English towns, says thinktank

A plan to slash universal credit will have the biggest impact in the poorest towns in England, the government has been warned, after it emerged that claims for the payment have increased far more in the most deprived areas during the Covid pandemic.

The research by Bright Blue, a liberal Conservative thinktank, will heap further pressure on Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, to extend a £20-a-week increase in universal credit introduced last March. It is set to be withdrawn in April and many Tory MPs are privately worried that the cut will undermine Boris Johnson’s pledge to “level up” the country, and are pushing for the increase to be made permanent.

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