Short-term fixes fail to be a lifeline for families on Universal Credit

The £20 uplift must be kept for at least the next fiscal year, any less would work against the economic recovery and that's simply not right.

At the start of the pandemic, the Government temporarily increased Universal Credit (UC) and Working Tax Credit (WTC) by £20 per week per household. This has been a lifeline to millions of families but is due to end at the beginning of April.

Discussions about how to continue supporting families bearing the financial brunt of this pandemic are current and urgent. There have been several proposals that would be ineffective and inefficient, including extending the uplift until the summer or giving all current claimants a one-off lump sum payment.

We, along with many charities, think tanks and cross-party politicians, have argued that this uplift should be made permanent, and the majority of the public agree - in this briefing we set out why it must be kept for at least the next fiscal year. Any shorter extension would be bad policy and work against the economic recovery.

Recommendations:

  • The Government should make permanent the temporary £20-per-week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, or at the very minimum extend the uplift for the 2021/22 fiscal year.
  • The Government should also right the wrong of families on ESA, JSA and Income Support being excluded from this support, simply due to still being in the ‘legacy’ part of the system.

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