“It beggars belief that the Government is even contemplating removing the £20 Universal Credit uplift in the current climate.

“This uplift represents a vital lifeline for families right across the country – many of whom are in low paid work or have lost their jobs because of Covid. Removing it would cut the incomes of more than 6 million households across the UK by £1,040 a year; plunging an extra 700,000 people – including 300,000 children – into poverty. To do so in the face of the gravest economic situation in our lifetimes is morally reprehensible and economically illiterate.

“Those cuts will hit the North especially hard, affecting around a third of households in Yorkshire and the Humber and 136,000 people in South Yorkshire. In my own Barnsley Central constituency, for example, 10,234 residents will see a hit to their weekly income. This is further proof that the Government’s actions are serving to level down the North of England.

“I’m calling on the Government to do the right thing and cancel the cut to Universal Credit.”