The Government’s controversial plans to scrap the £20 per week boost to Universal Credit have been labelled as "cruel and callous" by a group of local politicians.

Allerdale Borough Council’s independent group, Allerdale Independents, has called for the uplift to be maintained to help the poor families in the area.

The group has submitted a motion to be considered by the council, saying the cut will severely impact on the area, with Maryport and Workington having some of the poorest wards in Allerdale.

“This will cost our poorest families a minimum of £1,040 a year – this includes not just those on out of work benefits but for our poorest paid, including those on working tax credits," stated the motion.

“People are ensuring every penny counts and our poorest families are being hit with this cruel and callous cut. Many families have lost their jobs due to Covid and forced to take poorer paid jobs through no fault of their own.

“We are seeing the use of food banks increasing due to the rocketing supermarket and energy prices.

“The £20 a week may not sound a lot to many, but others are set to face the choice of heating their homes or having food on the table."

The Independents are calling on the council's chief executive officer to write to Mark Jenkinson MP and Trudy Harrison MP voicing the council's concerns and requesting them to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak expressing the council's feelings on the matter.

In response, Allerdale Conservatives said: “We have provided two million of the UK’s lowest paid workers with a pay rise through our increases to the minimum wage and the National Living Wage, and through our Plan for Jobs we will offer workers the chance to retrain and upskill so they can boost their earnings and progress in their careers.

“We would recommend Allerdale Independents concentrate on addressing their own internal issues and come up with some ideas for how to improve the local area.”

However, Allerdale Labour Group responded by saying: “We condemn this heartless political decision.

“It will kick people when they are down.”