Government rejects UK call to maintain ‘significant’ growth in Universal Credit

Government rejects UK call to maintain 'significant' growth in Universal Credit

Boris Johnson’s government has rejected calls from senior politicians in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to maintain a universal loan increase of £20 a week.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told multi-party committees in all four countries that cuts would continue as planned next month – leaving millions of Britons at £1,040 a year in a worse situation.

The cabinet minister confirmed that the hike during the COVID crisis would be phased out from October 6, despite mounting pressure by MPs from all parties to keep the payments on a permanent basis.

Coffey responded in a joint letter to ministers, “Now that the economy has reopened, it is right for the government to focus on getting people back to work and advancing the careers of those who already have jobs.” Is.”

The Secretary for Work and Pensions added: ‘Our ambition is to help 2 million people settle down and get to work through our £33 billion Global Jobs plan. “

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation stated that a reduction in the universal debt would push 500,000 people into poverty, while Citizens Advice warned that a third of those receiving the allowance would go into debt when the increase is lifted.

Multi-party committees at Westminster, the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland, the Welsh Parliament and the Scottish Parliament have expressed concern about the impact of reduction on poverty.

In a joint letter to Ms Coffey, they argued that millions would lose £1,000 a year ‘when they most need financial aid’. He also called the change “the largest overnight reduction in a basic Social Security rate since the beginning of the modern welfare state”.

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Labor MP and chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, Stephen Timms, said the government “must change course to avoid serious hardship for thousands of families”.

Mr Johnson could face a vote in the House of Commons on a planned universal credit cut, two days after lawmakers return from summer recess. a source said Independent Labor was “likely” to force a vote on the issue, but this has yet to be officially confirmed by the party.

Concern grew within the ranks of the Conservatives over the summer. Last week, two Conservative MPs from the “Red Wall” in northern England – Peter Aldous and John Stevenson – wrote to the prime minister urging him to drop his plan to end the rebellion.

‘Our central promise in the last election, which you expressed so well, was to take this to the next level,’ he wrote – hailing the £20 a week boost as ‘one of our best legacies of the pandemic’ Describing in.

In July, six former Conservative secretaries for work and pensions wrote to the government saying the increase was shown to be “critical” to protect income and warned that any cuts would threaten the economic recovery. could.

In addition to letters from multi-stakeholder committees, ministers from Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont also wrote to Ms Coffey expressing their concern about the impact that universal debt reduction would have on poverty.

Scottish Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison, Welsh Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt and Northern Ireland Communities Minister Deirdre Harge said people will lose money ‘when they need it most financially’.

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Ms Coffey had previously suggested a £1,000 a year cut would help encourage some people to return to work, with the government saying it was focusing on its Plan for Employment program to boost training. was being

A UK government spokesman said: “The temporary increase in universal credit was designed to help applicants get through the economic shock and financial turmoil of the most difficult phases of the pandemic, and it is.

“It is fitting that we are now focusing on our job plan, helping applicants increase their income by upgrading their skills and going to work, progressing in their jobs or increasing their hours.”

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