Mr Sunak laid out the following: “To support low-income households, the Universal Credit uplift of £20 a week will continue for a further six months, well beyond the end of this national lockdown.
“We’ll provide Working Tax Credit claimants with equivalent support for the next six months.
“And because of the way that system works operationally, we will need to do so with a one-off payment of £500.
“And over the course of this year, as the economy begins to recover, we are shifting our resources and focus towards getting people into decent, well-paid jobs.”
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Richard Lane, a Director of External Affairs at StepChange, commented on the Budget: “The extension of the furlough scheme until September is a crucial acknowledgement that, while the country may be hoping to be ‘back to normal’ by the end of June, millions of households’ finances will be anything but.
“This principle needs to be reflected more widely in other support, too.
“The extension to the £20 uplift to Universal Credit will provide short-term relief to millions currently relying on it to feed their families, pay their bills and keep their homes, however the one-off payment of £500 in working tax credits risks eating into the existing debts of anyone with a negative budget or in problem debt rather than providing the much-needed boost to day-to-day income of a regular payment.
“That’s why StepChange is calling for the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and the boost to working tax credits to be kept permanently – unemployment is set to be at its peak in six months, and if these measures are dropped people relying on them will be faced with the lowest relative level of unemployment benefit in nearly 20 years.
“People behind on their rent also need support to avert the real risk of mass housing insecurity and homelessness – it’s disappointing that the Budget did not recognise the urgency of this need.
“While it is helpful to see the Government’s continued commitment to the No Interest Loan Scheme pilot today, the need to learn quickly from this and urgently scale up the concept is clear.
“In particular, we need the Government to create a system of grants and interest-free loans that will allow renters to deal safely with arrears built up over the course of the pandemic.
“Without these types of support, the Government risks hampering the ambitious plans the Chancellor has set out for economic recovery.”
New claims for working tax credit can only be made by those who are already getting child tax credit.
Additionally, claimants of pension credit may also be eligible if they and their partner are state pension age or over.
So long as a claimant is eligible, they’ll receive between £122.50 and £3,220 per year depending on their circumstances.
The money is paid once every week or every four weeks into a bank or building society account.