At the start of the on-going pandemic, CAS welcomed the quick action taken to boost the level of payment of Universal Credit (UC).
Since March, Scotland’s Citizens Advice Network has provided over 85,000 pieces of advice on Universal Credit. The role of UC in the social security safety-net has never been as important as in the current crisis.
Unprecedented numbers of people have had to claim UC for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. The £20 a week increase, boosting annual payments by the value of £1,040, was a first step in making UC a more adequate safety-net, and has been a lifeline to many people and families.
However, the extra £20 a week is due to end in April; no commitment has yet been made on extending the increase beyond this point. The consequences of removing the uplift are demonstrated in Citizens Advice network evidence; risking an income crisis, a rise in poverty levels through exacerbating financial hardship, along with the knock-on wider health and economic impacts.
The time has now come for the government to end the uncertainty and concern by committing to making the £20 a week increase to Universal Credit permanent.
CAS calls on the government to urgently commit to making the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift permanent.