Thank you for taking the time to write to me about the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit, and about why it has not been extended to legacy benefits.
The temporary £20 increase to Universal Credit payments was proposed some time ago and has made a huge difference to those hardest this by this pandemic and on low incomes. There has been active debate over whether this should be continued beyond the initially stated end date.
It is clear to see that the crisis caused by this pandemic is far from over and many are still teetering close to the brink in terms of finances. My own view is that to remove this extra lifeline to the people that need it at this time could be catastrophic. That is why I supported the proposal to continue the increased Universal Credit payments recently.
I appreciate that these announcements are normally made at the Budget (scheduled for 3rd March) but it would be a real help to many constituents if the Government could commit now to extending the uplift for a further period of time.
When it comes to those on older ‘legacy’ benefits such as ESA, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support, I am acutely aware that these benefits have not been uprated in line with Universal Credit. It is important that everyone has the additional support they need to get through this pandemic, regardless of whether they are receiving older or newer benefits. I have therefore written to ministerial colleagues ahead of the budget to call for the uplift to be extended to legacy benefits as well.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me.