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UK government urged to keep £20 universal credit uplift

written by Bella Palmer

Ministers from Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont have raised concerns about the impact the cut will have on poverty

Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland (NI) governments have called on the UK government to reconsider plans to end the universal credit uplift.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to stop the extra £20-a-week payment in October, saying it is only temporary measure to help people through the pandemic. But there are growing calls for it to be extended or made permanent.

Ministers from Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont have raised concerns about the impact the cut will have on poverty.

They wrote a joint letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, describing the change as the biggest overnight reduction to a basic rate of social security since the modern welfare state began, more than 70 years ago.

The letter is signed by Scotland's Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison, Welsh Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt and Northern Ireland Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey.

They said they were writing to express the "grave concerns of all three devolved administrations".

They added that people would lose more than £1,000 a year at time when they need financial support the most, adding that the impact would be heightened by the "premature end" of the furlough scheme, along with energy prices rising for millions of people from October.

We are concerned about the potential impact that reducing universal credit will have on child poverty, poverty levels and the financial health and wellbeing of people, the stated. We urge the UK government to reverse the decision without delay in order to avoid causing further anxiety.

The £20 top-up was extended by six months in March but MPs, along with charities and campaigners, have called for it to continue beyond the autumn.


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