15 April 2021
Sir, Your investigation taps into a sentiment that is voiced with increasing desperation by food banks: namely, that the monthly deduction of large sums from poorer households’ universal credit payments is promoting chronic hardship (“Tax raids target poorest families on universal credit”, Apr 14). In the run-up to the budget we asked the government to accelerate its planned easing of deductions from universal credit. That request was accepted and will, in the next six months alone, put £265 million back into claimants’ pockets. However, if our country is to give itself a fighting chance of eliminating hunger and destitution during the recovery from the pandemic, similarly bold action will be required to either write off or massively reduce the historic debt burden from tax credits that continues to bedevil poorer households on universal credit.
Lord Field of Birkenhead, trustee, Feeding Britain; Andrew Forsey, director, Feeding Britain