When does the £20 Universal Credit uplift end? What will come next?
Universal Credit: Uplift being ‘actively considered’ says Coffey
Universal Credit has proved an invaluable lifeline to millions of people who found themselves out of work throughout the coronavirus pandemic. There were 4.2million households claiming Universal Credit in May 2020, a huge spike of 1.7million since February of the same year. In terms of Universal Credit, a household is classed as a single person or couple living together with or without dependent children. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, introduced a £20 weekly boost to help those struggling the most – but like all good things, it has to come to an end.
When does the Universal Credit uplift end?
The £20 weekly uplift for Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit claimants is due to end in April 2021.
The uplift has been a saving grace for claimants who have struggled to cope financially in the last 10 months.
On April 6, 2020, the Chancellor introduced the new measures which meant claimants have been £1,040 better off.
There have been increasing calls from charities, think tanks and other sectors of Government to extend the uplift – but no such luck as of yet.
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What will come next?
The Chancellor is understood to be considering replacing the boost with a one-off payment of £1,000.
Mr Sunak has been under increasing pressure from Tory MPs to extend it.
However, the Chancellor is said to have ruled that out, fearing it could become a permanent fixture of the scheme if it’s allowed to continue.
Instead, he’s offering claimants the chance of a one-off cash injection, twice as much as the £500 previously reported.
A Treasury source declined to comment on the specifics of the deal but confirmed the payment was on the table.
Mr Sunak appears keen to delay any major decision until the Budget, which falls on March 3 this year.
However, cabinet ministers are pushing for a decision as early as this week, including Secretary for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey.
One Government source said Mr Sunak sees the boost as a way of helping the economy.
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The source told the Telegraph: “One of the motivations of the Treasury is they think people will go out and spend it and help stimulate the economy.”
More than half of the 5.7million people on Universal Credit signed up to the uplift, and it’s understood they will all be eligible for the bonus.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said no decisions had yet been made on what support will be offered once the £20 uplift expires in April.
However, Downing Street didn’t deny that the £1,000 payment could be introduced in replacement of the £84 monthly boost.
Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said: “Throughout this crisis we have made sure we have looked after those who are most vulnerable.
“We will continue to assess the economic and health context to decide how best to continue to support people who need our help.
“It remains the case that the uplift to Universal Credit still has some months left to run until April and no decisions have been made on it further to that.”
Asked whether the Prime Minister backs the plan, the spokesperson added: “It is a matter for the Chancellor, but again I would point to the support that we have provided to people on low incomes and those who are the most vulnerable in society throughout the pandemic.”
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