Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has written again to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey after Westminster confirmed it is to withdraw the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.
In a joint letter with Scottish and Welsh ministers, Minister Hargey expressed her grave concern and opposition to the decision to allow the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits to expire at the start of October.
The letter follows previous joint correspondence on the issue sent in November 2020 and further correspondence from Minister Hargey individually in July of this year.
Minister Hargey said,
“The decision by Westminster to withdraw support to the poorest in our society will increase hardship and poverty for people who are already struggling.
“The potential impact of reducing Universal Credit on child poverty, poverty levels overall and the financial health and well-being of people in the most difficult of circumstances is of grave concern.
“Stopping the additional payment will have a devastating effect on people at a time when they need financial support the most.
“Therefore, I am urging the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, to reverse this decision and to strengthen the support offered by Universal Credit, not weaken it.”
The letter outlines how the loss of the £20-per-week uplift would result in a reduction to Universal Credit of £55.5 million here for the remainder of this financial year, based on households in receipt of Universal Credit as at 28 February 2021.
It also questions the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) stated position that the decision not to further extend or make permanent the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits is to encourage people into work.
Minister Hargey continued,
“The uncertainties resulting from the global pandemic continue and it is essential that measures are put in place to provide adequate support.
“I am calling on Westminster to reverse the decision to end the £20 per week uplift, to agree to make it permanent and to announce this without delay in order to avoid causing further anxiety.”
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