Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Holyrood, Westminster, Stormont and Senedd urge UK Government to keep £20 Universal Credit uplift

The £20 Universal Credit uplift is due to be removed in October

Politicians from Holyrood, Westminster, the Northern Irish Assembly and the Welsh Senedd have come together to pen a letter to the UK Government, urging it to make the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit permanent.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Work and Pensions increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit payments by £20 a week.

However earlier this month it was confirmed this will be taken away in October.

Six million to lose hundreds overnight

The letter is addressed to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, and says there is an estimated 6 million people claiming Universal Credit who will lose £1,040 in annual income overnight.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, this could force 500,000 people – including 200,000 children – into poverty.

The letter, which is signed by Neil Gray, convener of Holyrood’s social justice and social security committee, Stephen Timms, chair of Westminster’s work and pensions select committee, Paula Bradley, chair of Stormont’s committee for communities, and Jenny Rathbone, chair of the Senedd’s equality and social justice committee, also raises concerns about the benefit being removed at the same time as unemployment is expected to peak.

North-east MSP urges ministers to make Universal Credit uplift permanent

This is due to the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme coming to an end in September.

Mr Gray said: “The UK Government did the right thing at the start of the pandemic to increase Universal Credit and working tax credit to give better support to people during these incredibly challenging times.

Neil Gray MSP

“But removing the uplift in October would have devastating consequences for our most vulnerable in society, who have been hit hardest by this pandemic.

“This risks sending many more people into poverty at a time when we should be doing all we can to support them.

“All four of our committees agree that by spending this money now on social security, we can avoid putting more people into poverty, helping save more money in the longer term on health, education, justice and social services.”

Having uplift removed ‘will be a tragedy’

Andy Duncan, chair of the Tayside branch of Unite the Union and member of Dundee Against Austerity, says the £20 uplift to Universal Credit should never have been questioned.

Andy Duncan, pictured centre

He said: “The uplift has saved a lot of people across the country, not just in Scotland but the whole of the UK, from falling into poverty, no doubt about it.

“We have the worst social security system in the whole of Europe and it consistently gets attacked by the government.

‘Eye watering’ increase in Highland Universal Credit claimants reveals devastating impact of pandemic

“There should be protests at each job centre across the country to demand this is kept as a full time payment because it is beneficial to people.

“If it is withdrawn it will be a tragedy.

“And after furlough ends more will lose their jobs and that will exacerbate Universal Credit claims – people will get a culture shock to go from a wage to this basic payment, and at the hoops they have to jump through to get it in the first place.”

Government to now focus on Plan for Jobs

A spokeswoman for the UK Government said: “The temporary Universal Credit uplift was brought in to support those with the lowest incomes during the pandemic.

“Our focus now is on our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs, which will help people learn new skills to progress in their career, increase their hours or find new work

“Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has significant welfare powers and can top-up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from the Press and Journal Scottish politics team

More from the Press and Journal