Universal Credit received a £20 per week uplift from Rishi Sunak in early 2020 as coronavirus continued to impact the economy. This payment boost is set to end from April and while the Government has detailed they’ll keep it under review, they have refused to extend it thus far despite pressure from the likes of Keir Starmer.
Yesterday in Parliament, Kate Osborne, the Labour Mp for Jarrow, pushed the Chancellor for answers on Universal Credit: “Analysis by the Resolution Foundation [found that] based on the number of households claiming Universal Credit or working tax credit in April last year, it was found that 34 percent of working age households across the North East stood to lose out on over £1,000 a year if the uplift is cut as currently planned in April 2021.
“Which, unless I’m mistaken, is still the case…
“…Maybe he can clarify. Can I ask the Chancellor if he agrees with me that it would now be unthinkable to cut this lifeline given the ongoing significant impact the pandemic has had on low income families.”
In his response, Rishi was somewhat evasive.
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As Thérèse Coffey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, mentioned in a statement on social security benefits and pension up-ratings for 2021/22: “The statutory annual review is separate from the temporary £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, which was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020, and enacted for one year under different legislation to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency.
“As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context in the new year.”
Universal Credit faced unprecedented demand in 2020 as coronavirus wreaked havoc on the economy and impacted incomes across the UK.
Demand shot up in the first two weeks of Spring in 2020 due to the pandemic, with 3.6 million claims being put through since March.
Initial claims can be made online and so long as the claimant is eligible, they will receive a monthly payment tailored to their circumstances.
When applying for the first time, claimants will need to have the following ready:
- their bank, building society, or credit union account
- an email address
- information about their housing, for example, how much rent they pay
- details of their income, for example, payslips
- details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that they rent out
- details of how much they pay for childcare if they’re applying for help with childcare costs