Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has condemned government plans, announced today, to phase out the £20 uplift to Universal Credit in the autumn. Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey told MPs the boost – introduced in April last year to help deal with the economic effects of Covid – would face an “adjustment”. Six former work and pensions secretaries have urged ministers not to end the uplift.
Torsten Bell, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation, said: “The decision to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week this October will cut the incomes of the poorest families by over 5% overnight.”
Commenting on the news, Mr Carmichael said:
“When you are proud of a policy shift you shout about it to the rafters, wave it around in speeches and boast about it in the press. When you know that your planned cuts to Universal Credit will go down like a lead balloon you are likely to do as this government has done and sneak the news out in evidence reluctantly given to a parliamentary committee.
“For all the flaws in its rollout, Universal Credit has been the only lifeline for many during this pandemic, particularly for those who have been ineligible for other government support through no fault of their own. To cut this lifeline in the autumn will not only harm struggling families but also put the economic recovery at risk – one thing, at least, that we might expect the Conservatives to be concerned about.
“People need greater certainty after a chaotic year – to cut Universal Credit now is to cut people’s confidence in a more stable future after the pandemic.”