Universal Credit UK: Citizens Advice urge Rishi Sunak to keep the £20 uplift in place

Universal Credit: Uplift being ‘actively considered’ says Coffey

Universal Credit payments were awarded a £20 per week uplift in early 2020 as Rishi Sunak attempted to support people through the . In recent weeks, Boris Johnson has hinted that the uplift would be removed come April and while the Government is being pressured to reconsider, claimants could lose out in the coming months.

On this, Citizens Advice have stepped forward and called on the Government not to remove the uplift, with the charity highlighting their web pages on Universal Credit have been viewed once every ten seconds since March.

Additionally, the charity has given more than 300,000 people one-to-one advice on Universal Credit since the pandemic began.

Alistar Cromwell, the Acting Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, commented on this: ” The £20-a-week increase to Universal Credit has helped families weather this crisis.

“But with just 10 weeks until this boost ends, the clock is ticking for the government to .

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“With a gloomy job market, people need the reassurance they’ll be able to pay their bills come April.

“We’d urge the Chancellor to do the right thing and maintain this lifeline.”

Magiie Bonser, an adviser at Citizens Advice, provided insight into what the reality is like for claimants at the moment: “We’ having to let people know that their benefits might drop by £20-a-week in April.

“For someone already struggling, that’s catastrophic. They simply have no wiggle room in their budget.

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“Many want to work but are coming up against a brick wall because there are no jobs.

“A cut to their benefits would mean missed bills, rent arrears and tough choices between putting the heating on and eating.”

Universal Credit has seen unprecedented demand over the last year or so, with it being reported in December that around 5.8 million people claimed the benefit since the pandemic started in March.

That is an increase of around 94 percent.

While the £20 uplift will impact all claimants and therefore will vary, there are standard allowances in which everyone will receive as a minimum.

These allowances are as follows:

  • £342.72 for single claimants aged under 25
  • £409.89 for single claimants aged 25 or over
  • £488.59 for coupled claimants with both aged under 25
  • £594.04 for coupled claimants where at least one is aged 25 or over

Claims for Universal Credit can be made online and those who are on a low income or out of work, are aged between 18 and state pension age and have less than £16,000 in savings may be eligible.

When applying, claimants will need to have the following ready:

  • Their bank, building society or credit union account details
  • An email address
  • Information about their housing, for example how much rent they pay
  • Details on income, for example payslips
  • Details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that are rented out
  • Details of how much they pay for childcare if they’re applying for help with childcare costs

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