‘It sticks in the craw’ Martin Lewis outlines benefits hole amid Universal Credit uplift

Budget 2021: Martin Lewis outlines story that has been missed

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Martin Lewis, 48, appeared on The Andrew Marr Show today, and the money saving expert used the opportunity to highlight the plight of millions of Britons on legacy benefits. While Universal Credit claimants have seen the £20 uplift to the amount they receive extended until October, legacy benefit claimants continue to be left out in the cold.

Martin said: “The Universal Credit uplift, the £20 a week has been extended to October, rightly, very important.

“They’ve also looked at one legacy benefit which is Working Tax Credit, that will have a £500 one off payment being made in April which is sort of the equivalent to the Universal Credit uplift.

“But are many other legacy benefits, because remember we’re moving people from old style benefits onto Universal Credit.

“And there are many people on those old benefits, who aren’t getting that uplift, especially disabled people and carers, and I pushed the Chancellor on this too, and he effectively said to me ‘this is target at working people, helping working people through the pandemic.’

“Now I tell you, if you had a mail bag like mine and you saw all the people with disabilities and carers and other people on legacy benefits who are having massively increased costs due to the pandemic that they are not able to support out…there are a lot of upset people and the phrase the Chancellor keeps using is ‘we’ll do everything we can to help people and businesses’, and that sticks in the craw of those who are excluded from the help.”

What are legacy benefits?

Legacy benefits are those being replaced by Universal Credit. There are around 2. people still claiming legacy benefits as the Universal Credit rollout, which started in 2013, continues. These benefits are:

  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

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Benefits were not the only issue Martin spoke out about during his Andrew Marr appearance, and he also highlighted the ongoing plight of Limited Company Directors.

Martin said: “The excluded group is one of the biggest stories in the nation right now.

“If you ask me to glibly sum up this year’s Budget, it would be those people who’ve been helped will continue to be helped, those people who haven’t, will continue not to be helped.

“The excluded group is up to 3.8million people who’ve not had any of the main support packages – Furlough, or the self-employment grants.

“I’ve been campaigning for one group of those, new starters, and they have been helped in this Budget – 2019/2020 tax returns will now be included in the assessment of whether you get self employment grants and that should bring 600,000 people in.

“But a huge category of people who’ve had no specific help are those limited company directors and almost, they’re not technically sole traders but one person bands if you like.

“And they’ve been lobbying for a long time, there’s been support schemes proposed by the Federation of Small Business, there’s been lots of meetings with the Chancellor – this was the make or break.

“Would anything in this Budget help that over one million people who are desperate? And the answer was no.

“And when I interviewed the Chancellor on Thursday about this, and I pushed as to why not, but he wasn’t going anywhere, my final question is ‘should we close the door? Are we telling limited company directors no help is coming for them?’ And he said yes.

“And that story’s been missed, and it’s so important to many people’s lives.”

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