GB News: Universal credit scheme ‘doesn’t stack up’ says expert
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
Universal Credit payments are to drop by £20 a week, or around £1,040 per year, from October 6. In defending this decision, the Government has argued focus now needs to shift onto getting people back into work but Deven Ghelani said this fails to take into account the fact that many Universal Credit claimants are already in work.
The Policy in Practice Director, who GB News noted is often dubbed the Universal Credit architect, was asked for his thoughts on the changes.
Mr Ghelani said: “I think it’s gonna be an interesting critical shock for a lot of people who are getting by with very little.
“It is the biggest overnight cut to the basic way of Social Security so we’ve had a benefit system, which has been cut considerably over the last seven years, and the uplift in response to COVID really brought it back to a level it should have been beforehand.
“What people are about to experience is those cuts over seven years hitting them in one go overnight, and it’s going to be very difficult for a lot of people to manage.”
Universal Credit cuts have been condemned (Image: GETTY/GB NEWS)
Mr Ghelani went on to break down just how costly this will be for claimants.
Universal Credit claimants are expected to lose around £90 a month and it was detailed this amount makes a huge difference to those who are struggling.
This cut is set to impact millions of people, as Mr Ghelani explained the number of people on Universal Credit jumped from around three million to six million people during the pandemic.
Mr Ghelani was asked for his views on the Government’s rationale on this and he argued the states choices did not “stack up”.
DWP updates Jobseeker’s Allowance rules [INSIGHT]
Dad faces just one meal a day as Universal Credit cuts loom [WARNING]
Universal Credit warning: ‘Reforms’ urged as demand is set to rise [EXPERT]
He continued: “The Government’s rationale I don’t think stacks up is the first thing I’ll say.
“If you listen to what Ministers are saying, it’s that they want to support work first, they want to get people into work over keeping them on benefits.
“The problem with that argument is a lot of people on Universal Credit are in work, it’s to support people who are in work and out of work.
“The extra £20 makes no difference to how much additional income from work they get to keep, so there’s no change to work incentives by taking away the £20.
Universal Credit demand rose in 2020 (Image: EXPRESS)
“We work with lots of organisations that help people on low incomes every day, and one of the things they tell us is the £20 is making a difference to them being in a position to not have to worry about debt and their housing.
“[This] means they can start to focus a little bit more on finding work, so actually the £20 and giving people some breathing space is probably a big boost to the local economy and to work.”
Mr Ghelani concluded by arguing the Government was creating a “false economy” with its narrative on Universal Credit.
Despite these comments and calls from other organisations, the Government has been adamant the uplift cannot continue.
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have resisted calls to extend the uplift.
More recently, Thérèse Coffey, the Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, refused to extend the support beyond October.
In responding to an open letter from Ministers, she said: “Now the economy has reopened it is right that the Government should focus on supporting people back into work and supporting those already employed to progress in their careers.
“Our ambition is to support two million people move into and progress in work through our comprehensive £33billion Plan for Jobs.”