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£20 week UC uplift must be kept and extended says APPG of MPs on poverty

01 February 2021

A report published today by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on poverty asks for the Universal Credit (UC) top up, worth £1,050 a year, to be retained and extended beyond April 2021 and for the benefit cap to be suspended.

THE APPG says that it is evident from the findings of many organisations that the £20 uplift in UC and WTC has had a positive impact on the incomes of the poorest households in the UK:

“Modelling carried out by Policy in Practice suggests that if the uplift was withdrawn, 683,000 households, including 824,000 children, would no longer be able to afford to meet their essential needs, with this number growing by 11% when the impact of the two child limit is taken into account.”

Its report also highlights in relation to “legacy benefits” such as ESA that:

“The APPG received multiple submissions calling for the extension of the uplift to legacy and related benefits. This was particularly pertinent as most people claiming legacy and related benefits are disabled, carers, or have a long-term illness -the majority of whom fall in the poorest 10%of the population.

Witnesses explained that people on legacy and related benefits are more likely to have been unable to work for an extended period of time, and will thus be less likely to have savings to fall back on.

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) wrote that disabled people, despite not benefiting from the uplift, still face higher costs as a result of the pandemic due to increased food, fuel and phone costs; needing extra support from paid carers;  and because they need to take taxis rather than public transport.

Respondents from DBC’s latest survey said that if the £20 was extended to legacy and related benefits, it would allow people to manage their health better and avoid having to choose between heating and medication.”

Finally, the APPG say that several witnesses to it stressed that the benefit cap is preventing thousands of households from experiencing the uplift.:

“Suspending the benefit cap for the duration of the pandemic would enable all low-income households to benefit from the uplift. Given the current economic forecast of high unemployment, it is likely that people will be unemployed for a longer period”.

Ken Butler DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Officer said:

"This welcome report by a cross party group of MPs is yet another evidenced report published In recent weeks calling in the Government to both keep the £20 week uplift to UC and extend it to legacy benefits.

It is no answer for the Government to blithely say that disabled people should all just claim UC.

Some disabled people do not have internet access and will have difficulty claiming UC and maintaining their claim. The initial 5 week wait for a UC and its monthly payment may lead to the lead to claims for ‘advance payments' UC (loans).

Some disabled people may only be ‘better off’ while the £20 week uplift stays in place while other s will see any transitional protection payment eroded over time”

The APPG’s report, The impact on poverty of not maintaining the £20 uplift in universal credit and working tax credits, and of not extending the uplift to legacy and related benefits, is available from appgpoverty.org.uk

See also the following DR UK news stories: