Budget 2021: Universal Credit £20 a week boost extended for six months

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A £20 a week Universal Credit uplift in payments has been extended for another six months.

The Chancellor will announce the boost for low-income households in his Budget today.

Read our Budget 2021 live blog for the latest news & updates

People on Universal Credit will continue to get a £20 a week payment boost for another six months

The Government’s temporary coronavirus support for families on benefits is worth £1,040 a year and was supposed to only last a year.

Instead, claimants will continue to get the extra cash until the autumn, when the support is then expected to be phased out.

From then, only the poorest of families will get the increased payments.

The u-turn comes as MPs, charities and campaigners warned removing the boost will plunge thousands of families further into debt.

The coronavirus crisis has pushed millions of more people onto the benefits system in the past year as businesses and employers have been forced to close.

As of January 2021, six million Brits were on Universal Credit, up from 2.8million in the some month a year earlier, according to Government stats.

The Treasury had been reluctant to keep the top-up as it is estimated to cost taxpayers £6billion a year.

Speaking to HOAR ahead of the Budget, Richard Lane, director of external affairs at StepChange Debt Charity, said he would welcome an extension of the programme, but that it still leaves families in a state of “uncertainty”.

He said: “A six month extension risks simply kicking the can down the road, leaving households to face significant uncertainty when unemployment is expected to be at its peak.

Mr Lane added the government should commit to a longer term extension.

Everyone who claims Universal Credit gets the £20 a week uplift, regardless of what elements you are entitled to.

The extra cash has automatically been added to the standard allowance element for all Universal Credit claimants and can be viewed in claimants online journals.

Here are seven other ways to get help paying bills if you’re on Universal Credit.

Universal Credit’s tax on workers should be cut to help struggling Brits back into employment, a new think tank report has said. 

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