Universal Credit: DWP made ‘no assessment’ on uplift removal impact as families struggle

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Universal Credit payments are awarded to those who have fallen on financially difficult times and it is designed to cover a range of living costs. In 2020, the Government increased Universal Credit rates by £20 across the board as coronavirus impacted the economy and while the DWP faced calls to make this increase permanent, it has recently confirmed the uplift will be removed in the coming months.

Recently, the Government was pushed on this in the Commons where the DWP detailed it has yet to assess the potential impacts of this.

Kate Osamor, the Labour (Co-op) MP for Edmonton, asked for clarity on the decision.

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Ms Osamor said: “To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her department has made of the potential effect of ending the £20 uplift to Universal Credit on Universal Credit claimants.”

On July 7, Will Quince, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the DWP, answered this question.

READ MORE: PIP alert: DWP break down how video assessments will continue

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“We are committed to supporting families most in need, spending billions more on welfare and planning a long-term route out of poverty by helping people increase their hours in employment or find new work through our Plan for Jobs.”

While the DWP may have yet to make an assessment, a number of charities and other organisations warned of how detrimental the removal of the uplift could be for struggling families.

In response to the announcement, Eve Vyrne, the Head of Campaigns and Public Affairs at Macmillan Cancer Support, highlighted how damaging it could be.

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Ms Vyrne said: “We are deeply concerned to hear that the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions is planning to cut Universal Credit, which provides a vital lifeline to people living with cancer.

“The financial impact of cancer can be devastating and we regularly hear from huge numbers of people struggling to get by, whether because they’re too ill to work or because of the higher costs they encounter while having cancer treatment.

“People tell us they don’t know how they will pay for the additional heating or electricity they need, or put food on the table. It is vital that the Chancellor steps in and does not rip £20 a week from the people who need it most.

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“To do so risks leaving the most vulnerable without this vital support when they desperately need it most.”

To be eligible for Universal Credit, a person must be on a low income or out of work entirely.

Additionally, claimants must also:

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  • Be aged between 18 and state pension age
  • Have less than £16,000 in savings
  • Be living in the UK

Claims for Universal Credit can be made online and so long as claimants are eligible, they’ll receive their first payment within five weeks of applying.

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