Universal Credit warning as 'pandemic heroes' set to be hit by £20 uplift cut

Universal Credit was increased as a result of the pandemic to provide support to those who needed it most. The uplift of approximately £20 per week was widely welcomed, but only intended to be a temporary measure. Now, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey has confirmed the uplift will conclude in the autumn.

It is thought London, the South East and North West have the highest number of key  workers claiming the benefit.

Researchers estimate the South East alone has more than 85,000 workers on Universal Credit. 

In-work poverty, though, was highlighted as a palpable issue with many being pulled into its vice grip. 

Alan Lockey, head of the RSA’s future of work programme, commented on the matter.

He said: “The link between hard work and fair pay is broken – and this cut will only make it worse.

“In the short-term, the Government needs to protect this vital lifeline for millions of hardworking Brits, especially our pandemic heroes working as nurses, social carers and supermarket assistants.

“In the long-term, the Government needs to make work pay.

“It needs to expand the use of the living wage, tackling insecure work, and making benefits such as sick pay more generous and universal.” 

Looking more closely at the issue, there are a number of local authorities which have the highest number of key workers on Universal Credit.

These include West Somerset, Were, Hambleton and Hertsmere, with places like East Renfrewshire, West Lancashire and Mid Sussex following closely behind. 

Alongside problems with sick pay and difficulties with self-isolation, many of the worst impacts of the pandemic may still be yet to come.

As a result, the Government is being urged to take action on the matter.

Speaking about the end to the uplift, a Treasury spokesperson recently told Express.co.uk: “Throughout this crisis, the Government has spent £400billion protecting people’s jobs, livelihoods and supporting businesses and public services.

“We went long and extended economic support well beyond the end of the roadmap, right through to the end of September. That includes unprecedented welfare support.

“More than £9billion will have been spent on the uplift by the time it ends in September. It is right that economic support is wound down as we come out of this crisis and we focus on helping people back into work.

“We have purposely provided a three-month cushion once restrictions are lifted in order to support those who most need it.”

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