Communities Minister Hargey demands retention of Universal Credit £20 uplift lifeline

Date published: 03 October 2021

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has written again to the British Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to demand the British government retain the £20 Universal Credit Uplift which is due to be withdrawn next week.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey

In the latest of a series of letters to Thérèse Coffey MP, Minister Hargey has again urged the retention of the uplift stating its removal will compound poverty and hardship for tens of thousands of people here including 84,000 children.

The £20 uplift, which translates to £86.67 per month, will be withdrawn from 134,000 people here from October 6. Over 44,000 households with children have a UC claim in payment meaning around 83,930 children will be impacted by its removal.

The Minister said, 

“If the British Tory government insists on forcing through this callous reduction - in the face of widespread opposition, even from its own MPs - it will be forcing further hardship on already struggling families and directly impact 84,000 children. That is outrageous.

“The British government’s apparent determination to impose this reduction on the most financially vulnerable as furlough is ending, energy prices are soaring and many are still dealing with the economic impact of Covid, is not only unjust but, in my opinion, morally reprehensible.”

Minister Hargey had written to Thérèse Coffey in July and August and in November of last year urging the retention of the uplift.

The Minister also welcomed a joint letter from the First Minister and deputy First Minister, Paul Givan and Michelle O’Neill with the Scottish and Welsh First Ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford to the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the same issue.

“I have written to Thérèse Coffey on three occasions, individually and in a joint letter with Scottish and Welsh Ministers who share my grave concerns on the matter. The response has been extremely disappointing.

“I am writing again to insist that these concerns no longer be ignored and that the UC uplift be retained as a matter of extreme urgency.

“To do anything else is a derogation of responsibility and wrong on every level.

“I welcome the support of the First and deputy First Ministers and the Scottish and Welsh First Ministers on this matter of utmost importance.”

Notes to editors: 

1. At the end of August in a joint letter with Scottish and Welsh ministers to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, 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.

2. The letter followed previous joint correspondence on the issue sent in November 2020 and further correspondence from Minister Hargey individually in July of this year.

3. Media enquiries to DFC Press Office on email. 

4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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