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21 July, 2021 Open access

Chairs of cross-party committees in all four UK Parliaments urge UK Government to make £20 universal credit and working tax credit uplift permanent

Letter to Chancellor and Work and Pensions Secretary also calls for uplift to be extended to legacy benefits

The chairs of cross-party committees in all four UK Parliaments have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey urging them to make the £20 universal credit and working tax credit uplift that was introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.

In a letter dated 20 July 2021, the chairs of the Scottish Parliament's Social Security and Social Justice Committee, the UK Parliament's Work and Pensions Committee, the NI Assembly's Communities Committee, and the Senedd's Equality and Social Justice Committee say that, while they welcome the UK Government's decisions to introduce the uplift and to extend it to October 2021-

'We now hope you will consider making this uplift permanent and extending it to legacy benefits, which are disproportionately claimed by disabled people.'

The committee chairs add that -

'Ending the uplift would mean that the 6 million people claiming universal credit will lose £1,040 in annual income overnight. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has estimated that removing the uplift would force 500,000 people, including 200,000 children, into poverty. Families on the lowest incomes, those with children and particularly single parents, BAME families, and families where someone is disabled are disproportionately affected.'

Having also said that it is clearly unfair that those in receipt of legacy and other related benefits have not received the same uplift since their needs are just as great and they have faced the same difficulties during the pandemic, the committee chairs conclude by saying -

'As the cross-party conveners of the relevant committees, we hope that you will take seriously our view that the uplift should be extended. To give people the certainty and security they deserve it would also be helpful if you could make an early statement confirming your intention and we look forward to hearing from you.'

The letter to the Chancellor and Work and Pensions Secretary is available from parliament.scot