Calls to boost Universal Credit and legacy benefit payments by £25 a week | Personal Finance | Finance

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Campaigners are calling for the cash boost for claimants with claims that the cost of living “emergency” is as worse as the coronavirus pandemic, reports BirminghamLive. National poverty charity, Turn2us, is calling for the change, warning that the rise in the energy cap will be a major hit for Britons who are already struggling to pay for everyday needs.

The energy price cap was raised again this month by Ofgem, with bills to rise to on average £3,459 on October 1.

Analysts at Cornwall Insight have warned that the price cap could increase to £5,386.71 on January 1, 2023 and £6,616.37 on April 1, 2023.

Thomas Lawson, chief executive of national poverty charity Turn2us, said: “We implore the Government to act with urgency and introduce a cap on energy costs that means that we can heat our homes and turn on the lights as we head into winter.

“Government must increase the value of Universal Credit and legacy benefits by a minimum of £25 a week so those of us in the deepest poverty have a fighting chance of surviving this economic whirlwind.

“The Government must act now.”

READ MORE: State pension set to rise next year but 520,000 people will miss out

The charity boss also said: “This is no longer a choice between heating and eating, but not being able to afford either.

“This is as big an emergency as the impact of Covid and needs a similarly confident government response.

“As one of the wealthiest economies, it’s simply not acceptable to consign more than a quarter of us into poverty.”

A £20 a week boost to Universal Credit was binned in October 2021, after being in place for 18 months.

Fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA), has warned that the rise in the Ofgem price cap will increase the number of UK homes in fuel poverty, from 4.5 million last October to 8.9 million this October.

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“Households need money in their pockets to weather this storm or we are going to see millions in dangerously cold homes, suffering in misery with unimaginable debt and ill health.”

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has said ministers have been “working flat out” to develop a new support package to help struggling consumers.

He said: “This will mean the incoming Prime Minister can hit the ground running and deliver support to those who need it most, as soon as possible.”

The current cost of living measures include £650 for people on Universal Credit and six legacy benefits.

The legacy benefits include:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

A DWP spokesperson said: “We recognise people are struggling with rising prices which is why we are protecting the eight million most vulnerable families with at least £1,200 of direct payments, starting with the £326 cost of living payment being distributed for the summer holidays.

“Through our £37billion support package we are saving the typical employee over £330 a year through a tax cut, allowing people on Universal Credit to keep £1,000 more of what they earn while 80 per cent of households are getting a £150 council tax rebate.”

All UK households are to receive a £400 discount from their energy bills, spread across six months, starting in October 2022.

Households will get a discount of £66 in October and November, which will go up to £67 from December to March.





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