A RALLY against a government cut to Universal Credit took place in Stroud on Saturday.

Campaigners gathered outside the Sub Rooms to protest against the cut, which will see nearly 6,000 people in the Stroud district lose £20 a week of their income.

The amount had been introduced as a temporary boost to universal credit payments at the start of lockdown last year, in response to the financial hardships faced by many as a result of the pandemic.

However, this boost officially ends on October 6 and campaigners are now appealing to the prime minister to make the increase permanent.

Stroud Labour Party and Unite Community held the rally outside the town’s Subscription Rooms at 11.30am to raise awareness of the cuts, amid fears of people falling into debt or poverty.

Labour group leader Doina Cornell said: "People told us time and again on Saturday how this cut would detrimentally affect their lives.

"Even before the uplift, Universal Credit wasn’t enough to cover the cost of living, and with rising food and energy bills, this cut means thousands of local families are going to be pushed into poverty.

"£20 a week might not seem much, but to people on the breadline who are already working one or more jobs to make ends meet, it can make the difference between heating their homes and feeding their families.

“It will also have a devastating impact on local businesses, sucking £516,000 out of the local economy.”

* Figures from Stroud District Council show the number of Universal Credit claimants in the district has more than doubled from 2,901 in July last year to 5,762 in July this year.

Stroud District Council does not administer Universal Credit, but was able to provide the figures about the benefit, which is administered by the Department of Works and Pensions.