Universal Credit: Boris Johnson refuses to make payment uplift permanent – income to drop

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Universal Credit payments received a boost from Rishi Sunak earlier on in the year as families continued to struggle with coronavirus. Since being introduced, there have been calls to make the change permanent and yesterday, Boris Johnson was forced to address this issue.

Yesterday, Ian Blackford, the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, asked the Prime Minister the following: “With mass unemployment looming, having the right social security measures in place to help families over the long term is vital.

“The Chancellor has so far refused to commit to make the Universal Credit uplift permanent, which means that 16 million people face losing an income equivalent of £1,040 overnight.

“Will the Prime Minister now commit to making the uplift permanent?”

“The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has painted a clear picture for his Government: strip the Universal Credit uplift away, and 700,000 more people, including 300,000 children, could move into poverty, and 500,000 more people could end up in severe poverty – more than 50 percent below the poverty line.

“The Resolution Foundation has called the uplift a living standards lifeline for millions of families during the pandemic.

“Challenge Poverty Week is a moment for all of us to take unified action against poverty. The Prime Minister has an opportunity here and now.”

In responding to the query, the Prime Minister did not confirm the uplift would remain permanent and instead he appeared to focus on getting people off Universal Credit where possible.

As he detailed in his response: “I am proud that we have been able to uprate it in the way that we have, and we will continue to support people across the country, with the biggest cash increase in the national living wage this year.

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“The result of Universal Credit so far has been that there are 200,000 fewer people in absolute poverty now than there were in 2010.

“It is vital that we tackle poverty in this country. That is why this Government are so proud of what we did with the national living wage.

“We are putting another £1.7billion into Universal Credit by 2023-24. If that does not give him the answer he wants, he can ask again next week.

“We will continue to support people and families across this country, and we will continue to spend £95billion a year in this country on working-age welfare.

“But the best thing we can do for people on Universal Credit is to get this virus down, get our economy moving again and get them back into well-paid, high-skilled jobs – and that is what we are going to do.”

Universal Credit payments are tailored to individual claimant’s circumstances but the following standard allowances will be received by everyone as a minimum:

  • £342.72 per month for single claimants under 25
  • £409.89 per month for single claimants aged 25 or over
  • £488.59 per month for claimants in a couple and both are under 25
  • £594.04 per month for claimants in a couple and either are 25 or over

How much a claimant receives from employment earnings will also impact what they’re paid.

For every £1 earned, Universal Credit payments will reduce by 63p.

This is done to ensure claimants will always receive more money from employment than they will from Universal Credit.

A claimant will be able to earn a certain amount before their Universal Credit is reduced if they’re responsible for a child or living with certain disabilities.

This is called the work allowance, which in itself can be lowered if the claimant is also getting help with housing costs.

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