Senior Tories urge UK government to make universal credit hike permanent
Boris Johnson’s government has been urged by senior Tories to make the £ 20 per week increase in universal credit permanent.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith – whose 2002 visit to Easterhouse in Glasgow inspired his much mocked benefit system reforms – signed a letter to Rishi Sunak along with five other former Tory secretaries for work and pensions.
The group warned the British Chancellor that a failure to keep the uprising in place permanently “would damage living standards, health and opportunities” for those who “need our support most as they exit the country. pandemic ”.
The extra money for benefit seekers was introduced as an emergency spending measure during the Covid crisis but is due to expire on October 1, having already been extended for six months in the March budget.
The Record has repeatedly called for the uprising to be made permanent – a position supported by the SNP and Labor.
But current pension secretary Therese Coffey has indicated that the push – which has kept many workers afloat and those who lost their jobs during the covid crisis – will soon end.
Research from the Legatum Institute think tank calculates that the weekly supplement has saved hundreds of thousands of people from poverty.
Although the number of people claiming benefits rose from three to six million during Covid-19, the group estimates that Universal Credit saved an additional 650,000 people from poverty during that time.
In a joint letter to Sunak, the six former cabinet ministers said, “The increase in UC has rightly been allocated to the standard UC allocation as many have not been able to work and it has it was just to protect people when they cannot work.
“But as the economy reopens and the government reassesses where it has spent money, we ask that the current personal financing in the universal credit envelope be kept at current levels.”
Ministers told MPs in the Commons last week that there would be less need for the weekly £ 20 increase in universal credit payments once restrictions on coronaviruses are removed with the government appearing ready to abolish them. social distancing restrictions by July 19.
Duncan Smith said making it a permanent feature “should be at the heart of what makes us conservatives.”
“One of the biggest, but unnoticed, successes of the government’s response to Covid has been the benefit system,” the big conservative said.
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“Universal Credit has worked well as a system for delivering money to those in need, and the extra £ 20 added has been essential in enabling people to live with dignity.
“Today, the six former Conservative Secretaries of State for Work and Pensions wrote with one voice to urge the Chancellor to protect the extra money he invested in Universal Credit.
“Failure to act would mean failing to seize this opportunity to invest in a future with more work and less poverty and adversely affect the standard of living, health and opportunities of some of the families most in need of our support. the end of the pandemic. “