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Written Question
Poverty: Children
Monday 13th September 2021

Asked by: Caroline Lucas (Green Party - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect on child poverty of the planned reduction of universal credit by £20 a week; if she will make it her policy to reverse that planned reduction and make the £20 a week permanent; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

It is not possible to produce a robust assessment of the impact of removing the £20 uplift on child poverty. This is particularly the case at the moment given the uncertainty around the speed of the economic recovery, and how this will be distributed across the population.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced with the success of the vaccine rollout. Now the economy is reopening and as we continue to progress with our recovery our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for UC claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to UC claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.


Written Question
Universal Credit: Coronavirus
Friday 21st May 2021

Asked by: Claire Hanna (Social Democratic & Labour Party - Belfast South)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make permanent the £20 uplift to universal credit uplift; and if she will extend that uplift to all legacy benefits.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until September 2021.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the increase was first announced with a vaccine rollout now gathering pace. As a result, the six-month extension to the temporary £20 per week uplift to the Universal Credit standard allowance means that it will be in place well beyond the expected end of restrictions and reopening of the economy.

It is right that the government should now shift its focus to supporting people back into work and we have a comprehensive Plan for Jobs.

The government has focused support on Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit claimants because they are more likely to be affected by the sudden economic shock of COVID-19 than other legacy benefit claimants.

Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for UC if they believe that they will be better off. The Government encourages anybody to go on GOV.UK and use one of the independent benefit calculators to check carefully their eligibility, because on applying for UC their entitlement to legacy benefits will cease and they will not be able to return to them in the future. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits. They can get help through the government funded Help to Claim scheme as well as the Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland.


Written Question
Low Incomes
Monday 11th January 2021

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Durham (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what key (1) economic, and (2) health, indicators they plan to use to inform their planned assessment of how best to support low-income families; and whether such any such assessment will include determining whether to make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until April 2021. As the Government has done throughout this pandemic, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.


Written Question
Low Incomes
Monday 11th January 2021

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Durham (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the timeline for their assessment of (1) how best to support low-income families, and (2) whether to make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until April 2021. As the Government has done throughout this pandemic, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.


Written Question
Universal Credit: Coronavirus
Monday 11th January 2021

Asked by: Owen Thompson (Scottish National Party - Midlothian)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make the £20 universal credit uplift permanent in light of the new January 2021 covid-19 lockdown.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until April 2021. As the Government has done throughout this pandemic, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context before making any decisions.


Written Question
Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus
Friday 18th December 2020

Asked by: Naz Shah (Labour - Bradford West)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will allocate funding to the Department for Work and Pensions to (a) make the £20 uplift to universal credit permanent and (b) extend that uplift to legacy benefits.

Answered by Steve Barclay - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

The £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit (UC) standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element is specifically aimed at providing significant temporary support to low income families who have seen their income fall as a result of the immediate impact of the crisis, and will run until March. It is right that we wait for more clarity on the economic and health context before making any further decisions, particularly given how quickly things can move, as demonstrated by recent developments on a vaccine.

The increase is just one part of wide-ranging Government measures to support people through the Covid-19 crisis, which are worth £280bn this year. Low income families are also benefiting from higher Local Housing Allowance rates, mortgage holidays, a temporary suspension of the UC Minimum Income Floor, a £500m local authority Hardship Fund, a £170m local authority Covid Winter Grant scheme, and £500 payments to help people self-isolate under NHS Test and Trace.

In recent years the Government has invested significantly in UC, including by raising work allowances by £1,000 from April 2019, benefitting working parents and people with disabilities by up to £630 per year.


Written Question
Universal Credit: Coronavirus
Wednesday 16th December 2020

Asked by: Lord Bishop of Durham (Bishops - Bishops)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what factors they will consider in their review of whether to make permanent the temporary Universal Credit uplift; and when they plan to announce the outcome of that review.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. This measure remains in place until March 2021. As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context in the new year.