A new evidence-based report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty has today called on the Government to make the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit permanent. The report also calls on the uplift to be extended to all legacy or related benefits and for the benefit cap to be suspended.
As Vice-Chair of this group, I welcome the report and its recommendations. The report confirms my experience talking to constituents across Manchester Gorton who have relied on this uplift to get by. Recent data suggests the number of my constituents claiming unemployment benefits has doubled since the pandemic hit.
Organisation after organisation outlined the positive impact this uplift had had on the incomes of the poorest households across the UK. Modeling carried out by Policy in Practice suggests that if the uplift were withdrawn, 683,000 households, including 824,000 children, would no longer be able to meet their essential needs.
Hearing about the difference this extra money made to those who received it and what it could do to help those who didn’t was compelling – for some it was the difference between being able to afford a shopping delivery when shielding and to others, it covered the cost of their internet which kept them connected to the world during these difficult months.
Losing the uplift would mean a return to struggling to get by at a time when costs are rising and opportunities to move into work are fewer.
Families need the security now of knowing they can rely on the £20 uplift. It is high time the Government took action to give families certainty and secure our economy by maintaining the £20-a-week uplift to Universal Credit and extending this to legacy benefits.
You can read the report in full here.