Garry Lemon, Director of Policy and Research at the Trussell Trust:
“Today the Chancellor has made a choice that is a far cry from his ‘age of optimism’, for people on the very lowest incomes. While we welcome the reduction in the taper rate which means some families can keep more of their earnings, this cannot make up for the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit. This is the largest cut to social security since the Second World War and is a devastating blow to millions of families across the UK already struggling to make ends meet. People are now facing impossible decisions, struggling to put food on the table or heat their homes.
“A lower taper rate and higher minimum wage will not benefit the majority of people forced to food banks who are between jobs or cannot work due to disability or childcare.
“No-one should have to turn to charity to afford the essentials needed to survive. If the Chancellor wants to ‘level up’ across the UK he must make good on his statement that ‘everyone should be able to afford the essentials.’ The answer must be to urgently invest in longer-term local welfare support and create a stronger social security system for everyone who needs it this winter and beyond.”