Universal Credit: Kate Osborne says ‘unthinkable’ to cut uplift
Universal Credit is a lifeline to millions of ordinary people up and down the UK. More people have been forced to claim the benefit than ever before during the coronavirus crisis as millions have lost their jobs over the past year.
Rishi Sunak increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £20 a week during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic back in March.
The rise is meant to last a year, so is soon due to run out.
But Tories in the north have revolted over the proposed cut by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
50 Conservative MPs have signed a letter to the Chancellor demanding the rise remains in place until lockdown ends.
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The influential Northern Research Group, representing Tories in the North and Midlands, has applied pressure on Mr Sunak to keep the rate the same.
Chairman Jake Berry said: “Lockdowns – although necessary while we wait for the vaccine to be rolled out – only entrench and compound disadvantage already felt by those communities this Government has promised to level up.
“Whilst we welcome the unprecedented support provided by this Government for those impacted by this virus, to relinquish support now would cause long-term damage to large parts of the North and weaken our recovery.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has backed the Chancellor, saying he thinks “most people in this country want to see a focus on jobs and growth in wages than on welfare, but clearly we have to keep all of these things under review.”
He also claimed: “The best thing is to get people into employment” – despite the fact 39 percent of the 5.7million individuals currently on Universal Credit are already in work.
Labour will force a vote in the Commons over the proposed cut in an effort to make the rise permanent.
The shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, said: “Under the Conservatives, families come last.
“The Government’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic means Britain is facing one of the worst recessions of any major economy.
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“Boris Johnson’s decision to cut Universal Credit will hit millions of families who are already struggling to get by.
“There cannot be another repeat of the government’s indecision and mismanagement of the free school meals scandal.
“The Government must put families first during this lockdown and act now instead of waiting until the last minute.
“If ministers refuse, Conservative MPs have the opportunity to vote with Labour and give families the support they need to get through this pandemic.”
How much could I lose in Government UC cut?
Under the proposed cuts, the average claimant would lose £20 per week.
This amounts to £1040 per year – a huge amount for those who are on the breadline and struggling in poverty.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has warned that the cut could see another 200,000 children pushed into poverty.
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