Following reports that the UK government will extend the Universal Credit uplift for only 6 months, the SNP has urged the Chancellor to go further to prevent a cliff edge for millions.
1. Aside from all the official Treasury warm up announcements, 2 of the biggest question marks about tomorrow answered in part... Kwarteng told @BBCBreakfast 'we will be extending furlough' + separately, a Cabinet source says Universal Credit will be extended for 6 months— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) March 2, 2021
The SNP’s Work and Pensions spokesperson has renewed calls for Rishi Sunak to make the £20 boost to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit permanent and extend the equivalent support to legacy benefits – saying anything less than this will be "another abject failure from this Tory government."
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said taking the lifeline away will result in an overnight cut in income of £1,040 per year for 6 million families and plunge an estimated 500, 000 people into poverty - including 200,000 children.
Extending the #UniversalCredit £20 uplift for six months, as rumoured, would whip away support at the exact moment unemployment is expected to peak. Government must #KeepTheLifeline for at least a year and extend it to legacy benefits if they want to keep people afloat. pic.twitter.com/Sjqi1HgYaI— Joseph Rowntree Foundation (@jrf_uk) February 18, 2021
Commenting, David Linden MP said:
"This reported half-baked solution is simply not good enough and will see 6 million face a cliff-edge in six months, as well as plunge hundreds of thousands into poverty.
"Cutting the lifeline in six months also risks coinciding with a predicted peak in unemployment – at a much higher rate than it is now – which could lead to another last-minute extension, creating turmoil for families and more work for the Department for Work and Pensions.
"Anything less than making the Universal Credit uplift permanent and extending it to legacy benefits will be another abject failure from this Tory government – and will once again show the stark contrast between Westminster and Holyrood. As the Tories cut welfare support, the SNP Scottish Government invests in ‘game-changing’ policies like the Child Payment.
"Maintaining and extending the uplift is the bare minimum the UK government should be doing to make up for the decade of Tory austerity cuts that have exacerbated poverty and destitution. We must not forget that people out of work today are still £1000 per year worse off compared to 2011.
"When announcing his roadmap out of the pandemic the Prime Minister pledged not to ‘pull the rug out’ from under people who needed support. I am urging the Chancellor to remember this, heed the widespread calls and prevent a cliff-edge in six months."
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