When the coronavirus storm first struck the UK, the Government rightly acted swiftly and compassionately, throwing families a lifeline to help them stay afloat. It raised the standard allowance of Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £20 a week, which helped prevent a surge in poverty.¹ However, those on legacy benefits (Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Income Support) received nothing extra, leaving many vulnerable to fall into financial crisis.
Our External Affairs Team is urging the Chancellor to extend the £20 lifeline for benefit claimants and for him to make this crucial decision now to ensure those receiving legacy benefits are not left adrift again. Our social security system is going to be more vital than ever in keeping our society steady through the storms ahead.
Despite the Universal Credit uplift not being mentioned in the Spending Review on Wednesday (25 Nov 2020), we know that the uplift is on the agenda - with lots of coverage via the BBC and beyond! Unfortunately the Government has indicated that they have no intention of increasing legacy benefits, even if they decide to extend the £20 increase to Universal Credit in the New Year.
The #KeepTheLifeline campaign is critical in making sure as many people as possible can stay afloat in the coming months. That's why it's already been backed by 50 organisations including the Disability Benefits Consortium, representing over 100 further organisations. Will you add your voice, too, and make sure we can extend a lifeline to those who need it in the months ahead? Click here to sign the Keep the Lifeline petition. To read more about why legacy benefit claimants desperately need the £20 uplift to keep afloat click here.