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Joint open letter from over 50 charities urges Chancellor to keep and expand the £20 week Universal Credit lifeline

30 September 2020

Over 50 charities have today written an open letter to the Chancellor to urge him to make the temporary £20 per week increase to the standard allowance of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit permanent from April 2020, as well as extend the same uplift to ESA, Income Support and JSA.

They include the Disability Benefits Consortium, itself a national coalition of over 100 different charities and other organisations including DR UK.

The joint letter highlights that modelling by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation indicates that around 16 million people will be in households facing an overnight income loss equivalent to £1,040 a year, with those on the lowest incomes and families with children being hardest hit.

This will result in 700,000 more people being pulled into poverty, including 300,000 children, and 500,000 more of those already in poverty will be plunged into deep poverty (more than 50% below the poverty line).

The charities also say that:

“…  it is simply not right that those on legacy benefits, who are mostly sick or disabled people and carers, and so have been most at risk during this pandemic, have not been thrown an equivalent lifeline.

We urge you to follow the advice of the Social Security Advisory Committee and support 1.5 million more people by applying an equivalent uplift to those on legacy benefits who have so far been excluded from increases.

Our modelling shows that the total cost of making the lifeline permanent (in addition to normal annual CPI uprating) and extending to legacy benefits would be around £9 billion a year.

A significant investment but crucial for our nation’s recovery. We urge the Government to keep doing the right thing, keep families afloat and keep the lifeline.”

The joint open letter to the Chancellor is available @ jrf.org.uk.

See also the DR UK news story Universal Credit will be cut by £20 per week from April 2021.