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Key health and care bodies say keeping and extending the £20 week UC lifeline is crucial

09 February 2021

Key bodies working across health and care have written an open  letter to the Prime Minister saying that the £20 week universal credit uplift - due to expire at the end of March 2021 – must be kept and extended to legacy benefits.

The letter has been signed by the following thirteen organisations:

  • Association of Directors of Public Health
  • British Association of Social Workers
  • British Psychological Society
  • Faculty of Public Health
  • Institute of Health Equity
  • Mind
  • Royal College of General Practitioners 
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Royal Society of Public Health
  • The Association of Mental Health Providers
  • The Mental Health Network of the NHS Confederation

These leading health and social care bodies state that without the £20 uplift, millions of families will be swept into poverty with the result being a reduction in the health, wellbeing, and life chances of children and young people for decades to come.

They argue that the investment in the social security system is an investment in the nation’s health, and cutting the uplift will result in deepening health inequalities, hitting the most vulnerable.

In their letter, the organisations also highlight that more than two million people on legacy benefits, most of whom are disabled people and people with long-term mental and physical health conditions, have not been offered the same lifeline, adding that:

 “Many of these people are at greater risk from Covid-19, and are taking more extreme and prolonged measures, to protect themselves.

This not only increases their living costs, but intensifies their mental and physical strain which in turn worsens health. We urge you to ensure that the full support of this lifeline is extended to those on legacy benefits.”

Commenting on the publication of the letter, Dr Hazel McLaughlin President of the British Psychological Society, said:

“As organisations working across health and care, we know the links between poverty and poor physical and mental health.

Without investment in the health and wellbeing of our nation, particularly those on the lowest incomes, the pandemic threatens to entrench health inequalities for generations to come. 

In this challenging time, together we call for the government to extend the uplift to bring security to the most vulnerable when they need it most.”

The full open letter to the Prime minister is available from bps.org.uk.