Universal credit payments are made to those who have had difficult times financially and are designed to cover a range of living expenses. In 2020 the government increased universal lending rates by £ 20 across the board as the coronavirus impacted the economy and although the DWP faced calls to make this increase permanent it has recently confirmed that the increase will be removed in the coming months.
Recently, the government was pushed about this in Commons where the DWP detailed that it had not yet assessed the potential impacts of this.
Kate Osamor, Labor (cooperative) MP for Edmonton, asked for clarification on the decision.
Ms Osamor said: “To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her department has made of the potential effect of ending the £ 20 universal credit increase on universal credit applicants . “
On July 7, Will Quince, the Parliamentary Under Secretary to the DWP, answered this question.
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“We are committed to supporting the poorest families, spending billions more on social assistance and planning a long-term exit from poverty by helping people increase their working hours or find new jobs. thanks to our Employment Plan. “
While the DWP may not have yet completed an assessment, a number of charities and other organizations have warned of the negative consequences of removing the hike for families in difficulty.
Responding to the announcement, Eve Vyrne, Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, pointed out how damaging this could be.
Ms Vyrne said: “We are deeply concerned to learn that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is considering cutting universal credit, which provides a vital lifeline for people living with cancer.
“The financial impact of cancer can be devastating and we regularly hear about a large number of people struggling to get out of it, whether it’s because they are too sick to work or because of the higher costs. ‘they must assume during their cancer treatment.
“People tell us they don’t know how they are going to pay for the extra heat or electricity they need, or put food on the table. It is essential that the Chancellor steps in and does not strip £ 20 a day. week of the people who need it most.
“Doing so risks leaving the most vulnerable without this vital support when they desperately need it. “
To be eligible for universal credit, a person must be low-income or unemployed.
In addition, applicants must also:
- Be between 18 years old and the legal retirement age
- Have less than £ 16,000 in savings
- Living in UK
Universal Credit applications can be made online and as long as applicants are eligible, they will receive their first payment within five weeks of application.