Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the temporary uplift, worth more than £1,000 per year to claimants, in March 2020. It was meant to last for one year, however according to reports, the Universal Credit uplift is set to be extended for another six months.
Robert Peston , Political Editor at ITV News, reports the roll on of the uplift is subject to a final sign off by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
It would mean claimants continue to be paid the £20 per week increment, and wouldn’t see their payments reduce for this reason from April 2021.
The reports come in the months after the Chancellor first faced calls to extend the financial measure.
Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, charities, MPs and members of the public have been urging the Government against allowing the uplift to come to an end.
Modelling by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has found that if the lifeline of the £20 per week uplift were to be whipped away in April, 6.2 million families would see an overnight loss of £1,040 per year.
The think-tank said it would mean around half a million people, including 200,000 children, would be pulled into poverty.
As well as increasing Universal Credit by £20 per week for a year back in March, Mr Sunak also announced an uplift of the same rate to Working Tax Credit.
“To strengthen the safety net, I’m increasing today the Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year,” he said at the time.
“For the next twelve months, I’m increasing the Working Tax Credit basic element by the same amount as well.”
Express.co.uk put the question of whether the support would continue beyond April 2021 to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) minister Will Quince in December last year.
Mr Quince said at the time: “I think the Chancellor has been clear that he hasn’t taken the decision and all options are on the table.
“But he initially brought in what was a temporary measure for 12 months and he’s been clear, and I think he said this as such in the recent statement as part of the Spending Review, that in the early part of the new year, he’s going to review this in the broader context and then make a decision.”
He added: “But what I would say is, both myself and indeed the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions are working really closely with the Treasury, discussing all of these issues.
“I’d also say, the Chancellor so far, throughout this pandemic, has not hesitated to support people facing the most financial disruption.
“And in particular, supporting the poorest and most vulnerable in our country.”
The Government estimates that the cost of the uplift for one year is around £6billion.
How much is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is made up of a monthly standard allowance, and any additional amounts a person may qualify for.
For example, people who have children, need help paying rent, or have a disability or health condition which prevents them from working, may qualify for the extra amounts.
The standard allowance rate a person gets depends on certain circumstances – as shown below.
The monthly standard allowance rates, including the £20 per week uplift, are currently as follows:
- Single and under 25 – £342.7
- Single and 25 or over – £409.89
- In a couple and both people are under 25 – £488.59 (for both)
- In a couple and either person is 25 or over – £594.04 (for both).