The Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2021 increases social security payments by the rate of CPI inflation (0.5%) from 1st April 2021. CAS welcome any increase to social security payments including Universal Credit (UC). However, current legislation prevents the future of the temporary £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit (UC) from being included in this annual review of benefit rates – at a time when uncertainty around the future of the £20 uplift is growing. Due to the benefits freeze from 2016 to 2019, UC rates remained at 2015/16 levels, meaning that in real terms the value of social security payments have fallen.
If the £20 a week uplift to UC is not made permanent, any inflation-related uprating is negated. People on UC are at risk of a serious shock to their income, including the millions claiming for the first time as a result of the pandemic. To avoid a rise in poverty, greater strains on public services and harming economic recovery, the £20 a week uplift must be maintained.