Universal Credit: Labour to force vote on payment rise tomorrow – Boris Johnson condemned
Universal Credit: Kate Osborne says ‘unthinkable’ to cut uplift
Universal Credit payments will vary from person to person but in March 2020, Rishi Sunak increased rates across the board by £20 per week as coronavirus raged on. The Prime Minister and wider Government have been called on many times since then to keep the uplift in place but last week, Boris Johnson confirmed Universal Credit payments will be cut from April and as such, Keir Stamer and the Labour party will be forcing a vote in the House of Commons tomorrow.
The Labour party detailed they will force a vote tomorrow demanding the Government scrap it’s plans to cut both Universal Credit and working tax credit payments (which also benefited from the uplift).
Boris Johnson, in an appearance at the Liaison Committee made on January 13, confirmed he still intends to end the uplift which will reportedly affect around six million families who will see their income drop by £1,000 a year as a result.
In supporting their decision, Labour highlighted they repeatedly called for the Prime Minister to change course as struggling families faced a “triple blow” of council tax hikes, frozen pay and now benefit cuts.
They pointed out that the Child Poverty Action Group have stated that the £20 uplift is essential to ensure “low-income families with children receive the support they need”, with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation also warning the cut could push 200,000 children into poverty.
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Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, commented on the state of affairs: “Under the Conservatives, families come last.
“The government’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic means Britain is facing one of the worst recessions of any major economy.
“Boris Johnson’s decision to cut Universal Credit will hit millions of families who are already struggling to get by.
“There cannot be another repeat of the government’s indecision and mismanagement of the free school meals scandal.
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“The government must put families first during this lockdown and act now instead of waiting until the last minute.
“If ministers refuse, Conservative MPs have the opportunity to vote with Labour and give families the support they need to get through this pandemic.”
The specific Opposition Day debate motion, tables on January 14, was as follows:
- “Keir Starmer
- “Jonathan Reynolds
- “Anneliese Dodds
- “Angela Rayner
- “Bridget Philipson
- “Mr Nicholas Brown
“Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit
“That this House believes that the Government should stop the planned cut in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit in April and give certainty today to the six million families for whom it is worth an extra £1,000 a year.”
Last week, Rishi Sunak was questioned in Parliament by Kate Osborne, the Labour MP for Jarrow, who pushed the Chancellor on how he could justify removing the uplift given the expected ramifications.
In response, Rishi refused to budge, commending the Government’s efforts thus far: “It is important to recognise some of the other things that we have put in place for the next year already.
“Notably supported with over 5.3 million households, with their council tax bills, £150 each worth £670million in aggregate.
“But also, increasing the national living wage, above inflation at 2.2 percent, providing around £350 of benefit to those on low wages and those are the kinds of things that this Government will continue to champion.”
Universal Credit has become a hot topic for the state as the impacts of coronavirus forced millions to apply for help, raising demand and overall costs.
In December, it was revealed around 5.8 million people had claimed Universal Credit since the pandemic began in March.
This was a rise of around 94 percent, with demand growing particularly high in London and South East England.
At the same time, the ONS reported the unemployment rate rose to 4.9 percent in the three months leading up to October, with the total jobless figure rising to 1.7million people.
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