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Universal Credit: Work & Pensions Committee report

Iain Porter, Policy & Partnerships Manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

A new report from the Work & Pensions Committee is recommending that if the Chancellor cannot yet commit to making the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent, he should at the very least extend it for a further 12 months. (@jrf_uk) 

Responding to the report, Iain Porter, Policy & Partnerships Manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who gave evidence to the inquiry, said:

“We fully support the committee in calling for the Government to commit to keeping the £20 uplift to Universal Credit for at least a year. A short term extension of anything less than 12 months is not the answer as it would cut support for the poorest in our society just as unemployment is expected to peak later this year and remain high for some time.

“There is a widespread consensus that cutting benefits now would be a terrible mistake as it will have devastating consequences for people’s health and ability to recover from this economic crisis, as well as for our economy and local communities that the Government has committed to level up. Millions of families have experienced job losses and income shocks over the past year and there is sadly still more to come. If the Government is serious about supporting families through this crisis, it cannot create more uncertainty and pressure for them, but should extend this uplift for at least the next year.

“This financial lifeline must also be extended to people claiming legacy benefits. It is unacceptable that currently many sick or disabled people and carers are wrongly excluded from the support they need to weather this economic storm.”

JRF is calling for:

  • The Government should make permanent the temporary £20-per-week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, or at the very minimum extend the uplift for the 2021/22 fiscal year.
  • Ministers should also right the wrong of families on Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support being excluded from this support, simply due to still being in the ‘legacy’ part of the system.
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