Universal Credit is intended to help the many people who are either on a low income or unemployed across the UK. As a result of the pandemic, many more people have flocked to Universal Credit in order to make ends meet. Understanding the need for further financial support, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) issued a £20 per week uplift to the benefit to provide aid to families who may be struggling.
The increase, however, was only intended to be temporary and is currently scheduled to end in just a few weeks time under current policy.
Now, the Chancellor is being urged to consider the potential detrimental effects of withdrawing the uplift to Universal Credit as the pandemic continues.
Citizens Advice, a network of charities offering help to Britons, has warned many are on a cliff edge when it comes to financial support.
Withdrawing the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit, the organisation has asserted, could mean financial turmoil for individuals reliant on the benefit.
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However, there have been increasing calls for the Government to take action and provide certainty to claimants.
Citizens Advice drew attention to one woman named Elaine, who was furloughed from her job at the start of the pandemic, and then made redundant in October.
As her costs of living increased, Elaine stated she found it a struggle to homeschool her daughter while paying more on heating and food.
She added: “After working for 30 years, it’s devastating to see everything just go up in smoke.
“We’re just about managing, but I have no contingency plan. If we lose that extra £20-a-week in April I just don’t know how I would cope.
“That would be the food shop gone. The stress of scraping by week to week is really getting to me and it’s been made worse by this extra uncertainty.”
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to address the issue of Universal Credit in his Budget next week.
The Budget will lay out the country’s financial path out of the pandemic, and is anticipated to touch upon issues such as furlough and SEISS.
According to recent reports, in potential good news for claimants, the Universal Credit uplift is set to be extended for another period.
Political Editor at ITV News, Robert Peston, reported the continuation of the uplift is waiting on a final sign off by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
This stance, however, is yet to be officially confirmed.
Express.co.uk has contacted the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for comment.
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