GMB: Therese Coffey grilled on Universal Credit
Make the most of your money by signing up to our newsletter for FREE now
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Addressing aspects of Government policy and pointing out the end of the Universal Credit uplift is looming, presenter Kate Garraway said: “Other families will suffer.” On the withdrawal of the Universal Credit uplift, Dr Coffey said: “We want to get more people with disabilities into work and that’s one of the elements of the national disability’s strategy.”
“There’s still a significant gap, it has reduced a few years.
“But those sorts of activities that we’ll be doing so people can stay and work and progress in work is a key feature in what we’re trying to do regardless of peoples physical or hidden disabilities.
“We want people to fulfil their full potential and being in work is one of those aspects where they can do that.”
The end of the temporary Universal Credit £20 uplift has been confirmed by Dr Coffey.
Universal Credit UK: Therese Coffey spoke about the uplift on Good Morning Britain (Image: GETTY / ITV)
It will be withdrawn as planned on September 30, 2021, despite a lot of opposition from anti-poverty groups and MPs.
Dr Coffey said the DWP plans to write to all Universal Credit claimants before the end of the uplift and warn them to prepare for the change.
The Government, which argues the uplift will no longer be needed as the economy opens up, was accused of risking putting low-income families’ living standards at risk, as households face rising inflation and the possibility of higher unemployment this autumn.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the uplift – worth around £20 per week to Universal Credit claimants – last year, and the measure was later extended as the coronavirus pandemic continued.
Over 5.5 million UK households claim Universal Credit and millions will now face a cut of £1,040 a year.
The uplift was initially supposed to be a one-year measure in March 2020 to help new claimants adjust to the extra costs of the pandemic however on March 3 this year, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the £20 increase would remain in place for a further six months.
The £20 weekly uplift was introduced for those claiming Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits at the beginning of lockdown last year.
Campaigners and cross-party MPs argue the removal could result in millions of families facing financial problems at the end of the year as the furlough scheme is also coming to an end.
During the pandemic, millions of people were out of work, or put on the furlough scheme which pushed a lot of families into hard times.
Since the start of the crisis in March 2020, the number of people claiming Universal Credit has doubled from three million to six million.Many struggled to get by on Universal Credit or found themselves having to claim it for the first time.
Monthly Universal Credit payments increased from £317.82 to £409.89 for single claimants aged 25+, however the allowance differs for couples, and under 25s.
Despite the opposition, the Government argues the uplift will no longer be needed as the economy opens up.
During a select committee appearance earlier this month, Boris Johnson said: “The emphasis has got to be about getting people into work.”
The decision to cut Universal Credit uplift will implement the largest “overnight cut” to benefits since the beginning of the welfare state according to research by the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). JRF’s research found that half a million people are set to be pulled into poverty, including 200,000 children because of Government’s proposals.
They said working families will be most adversely affected, with six in ten of all single-parent families due to experience their income falling by the equivalent of £1,040 per year because of the cut in Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit.
Analysis on the adequacy of working-age social security by the organisation created a range of illustrative families to convey how adequacy has changed for different households over time.
Universal Credit UK: The temporary uplift is set to end later this year (Image: GETTY / EXPRESS)
In the JRF’s illustrative family of three children who live in a medium cost area, with one parent working full-time and the other working part-time, the study found they would have been living £271 a month above the poverty line in 2013/14.
Now in 2021, the charity estimates that the family would be living £150 per month below the poverty line if the cut goes ahead.
Universal Credit was rolled out in Jobcentres across the country in 2013, replacing six previous benefits for people of working age.
The Government’s proposed cut is for October 6, 2021, which coincides with the last day of the Conservative Party Conference.