Keep £20 increase in Universal Credit, UK Government urged

Committee conveners from Westminster, Holyrood, the Senedd and Stormont have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak on the issue.

Keep £20 increase in Universal Credit, UK Government urged iStock

Committees at the UK’s four parliaments have joined together to urge the UK not to ditch the £20 increase in Universal Credit brought in during the coronavirus pandemic.

The conveners of committees at Westminster, Holyrood, Stormont and the Senedd have jointly written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey on the issue.

And they said they hoped the UK Government would “take seriously our view that the uplift should be extended”.

The £20 increase in the Universal Credit payments has been a “a lifeline for millions of families, saving them from being impoverished”, they argued.

Opposition politicians, union leaders and anti-poverty campaigners have all been urging ministers to make the increase to the benefit payment permanent.

Earlier this month, Coffey confirmed that the £20 uplift to the payment will start to be phased out from late September.

The temporary uplift was introduced by UK ministers in April last year, with the aim of protecting people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sunak said that it is right that support schemes comes to an end as the country emerges from the pandemic.

He said: “This is one part of a huge package of support that we put in place during the crisis and it was always meant to be temporary and it’s right that we did certain things to help us get through the worst parts of the crisis, that’s what we’ve done.

“And much like other things, the furlough scheme for example, these things will naturally come to an end as we have got through the worst of it and we can look forward to a different future.”

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