Budget is a 'missed' chance for people on Universal Credit

Rishi Sunak delivering the Budget in the Commons(Photo: Sky News)

Disappointment has been voiced over the Chancellor's decision not to make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent.

Reacting to Wednesday's Budget, Christians Against Poverty (CAP) said the six month extension was "extremely disappointing and leaves many fearing the future".

CAP CEO Paula Stringer, said: "The Chancellor set out welcome measures to protect jobs and livelihoods but alone they will not protect living standards.

"A six month extension to the UC uplift is simply not enough for millions of families facing the brunt of this pandemic financially and for the millions living in poverty before this crisis."

The charity warns that many low-income households will need Universal Credit when furlough ends in September - just as the cutback comes into effect. 

"Even before the pandemic, many people on these types of benefits were struggling to make ends meet. In the coming months, many more people will find themselves out of work or relying on UC to boost their low wages. The increase is still needed despite the planned rise in the national living wage," she said. 

"The announcements today have focussed on future investment. They have not taken away the fear and anxiety millions are facing because of their limited finances. It will not provide people living on low incomes with certainty that they will be able to keep food on the table and heat their homes in the future."

The Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart, Convenor of the Bishops in the House of Lords, welcomed some aspects of the Budget, including additional support for schools, domestic abuse programmes, and £300m for the Cultural Recovery Fund, which he said would support the "many small businesses and independent contractors our churches employ and support."

He added, however, that the "lack of detail" on social care was "a worry", and echoed the disappointment over Universal Credit. 

"This is a time of great uncertainty, and while the Chancellor has rightly focussed on steps to get the economy moving, I'm concerned he has missed the chance to give certainty to those people and families who rely on Universal Credit, by not making the £20 uplift permanent," he said.