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Government refuses to commit to keeping or extending the £20 week uplift to Universal Credit

25 November 2020

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Dr Thérèse Coffey has said today (Wednesday) that the temporary £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit – due to end from April 2021 – is separate from the annual review of benefit rates.

The benefits annual review took place today, alongside Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review.

Dr Coffey said: “The statutory annual review is separate from the temporary £20 per week uplift to universal credit and working tax credit, which was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020, and enacted for one year under different legislation to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency.

“As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context in the new year.”

In postponing a decision, the Government is ignoring calls from thousands of disabled people and every major disability charity in the UK to add a £20 per week uplift to legacy benefits such as ESA.

DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “The Disability Benefits Consortium first wrote to the Chancellor about a legacy benefit uplift back in June. It has still heard nothing back from the Exchequer.

“The failure to provide an uplift for two million people shows government’s flagrant disregard for disabled people.

“Yesterday at the APPG on Disability the Disability Minister Justin Tomlinson assured us of the government’s commitment to radical positive change for disabled people. The Chancellor’s silence on calls for an uplift today makes the Minister’s words ring hollow.”

Dr Coffey also said that: “State pensions will be increased by 2.5%, in line with the Government’s manifesto commitment. The full rate of the new State Pension will now be worth £179.60 per week. The Standard Minimum Guarantee in Pension Credit will also increase by the same cash amount as the basic State Pension, rising by 1.9%.

"All other benefits will be increased in line with CPI - which was 0.5% in the relevant reference period. This includes working-age benefits, benefits to help with additional needs arising from disability, carers’ benefits, pensioner premiums in income-related benefits, Statutory Payments, and Additional State Pension.”

Dr Coffey's written statement is available from parliament.uk