Universal Credit payment boost of £20 a week should be extended, MPs urge

Universal Credit claimants have been receiving an extra £20 a week since April.

In a bid to help those struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic, Rishi Sunak boosted the allowance for a year.

But as it’s only a temporary measure, MPs have urged the Chancellor to consider expanding the bonus.

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Universal Credit, said: “The coronavirus pandemic saw a huge and sudden increase in claimants.

“As the Furlough Scheme comes to an end in the next few weeks, this is likely to increase even further.

“It is more important than ever that we make sure that Universal Credit is better able to meet the needs of claimants and provide the timely financial support they need while they work to get another job or start a business.”

The MP added: “Becoming an UC claimant should not be associated with debt, poverty, homelessness or illness.

“But for too many it is. Our social security system is not fit for purpose, it is not the safety net that it’s meant to be.

“Evidence from charities, claimants, and academics have come together to develop pragmatic policies to improve Universal Credit. People need to get the help they need; when they need it.”

Some Members of Parliament also want to see the furlough scheme extended too.

While it’s meant to conclude in October, some hope furlough payments will be able to claim for longer.

Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation think tank, has urged the government to take support extensions into consideration ahead of the Autumn Budget.

He said: "Extending support for the hardest hit sectors of the economy will be essential to limit the rise in unemployment Britain faces in the months ahead.

"The government will also need to shelve plans to cut back Universal Credit payments to prevent millions of families from suffering a fresh income shock next spring.”

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