Today we’re highlighting respected organisations putting the case for extending the £20 a week supplement currently paid to people claiming Universal Credit.
Calls to Keep The Lifeline are part of a wider campaign for real social security, a safety net that protects individuals and families from poverty and homelessness.
The government introduced the supplement at the start of lockdown in March and plans to withdraw it in April next year. Charities and respected economic analysts are unanimous that withdrawal will lead to a big increase in poverty as unemployment rises and incomes fall.
1) Joseph Rowntree Foundation and 50 charities
“At a stroke, 700,000 more people will be pulled into poverty, including 300,000 children, and 500,000 more of those already in poverty will be plunged into deep poverty (more than 50% below the poverty line)700,000 more people will be pulled into poverty, including 300,000 children, and 500,000 more of those already in poverty will be plunged into deep poverty (more than 50% below the poverty line).” Open Letter 30/09/20
2) Citizens Advice
“Making the uplifts to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit permanent would help preserve the lifeline that has kept so many afloat. Reducing people’s money worries would also put individuals in a better position to focus on steps to prepare and look for work.” Blog, Minesh Patel, 23/0920
3) Resolution Foundation
“Exactly because that increase was a very significant and welcome move to bolster low- and middle-income families living standards, its removal will be a huge loss. Pressing ahead would see the level of unemployment support fall to its lowest real-terms level since 1990-91, and its lowest ever relative to average earnings. Indeed, the basic level of out-of-work support prior to the March boost was – at £73 a week (£3,800 a year) – less than half the absolute poverty line.” Death by a £1000 cuts, 02/10/20
4) Institute of Fiscal Studies
“Returning to the status quo ante next year will immediately reduce benefit payments by £1,000 a year and more from what universal credit recipients will have become used to. That will be a tough policy to sell. Returning the housing benefit system to one based on local rents as they were in 2012 (which believe it or not is what we had until now) would surely be bizarre.” Director, Newspaper Article, 30/03/20
Experienced advisers at Citizens Advice Reigate and Banstead have found information gaps and flaws in Universal Credit Help to Claim. Read more