New Universal Credit statistics highlight need to make uplift permanent



With just a week to go until the Budget, national poverty charity Turn2us is urging the Chancellor to make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent, and also extend it to legacy benefits, to avoid a dramatic increase in poverty, debt and homelessness.

The latest Universal Credit statistic report, released this morning by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), shows that around 446 people were still making new claims for Universal Credit every hour in the first week of 2021, and a total of 4.5 million people have made a claim for the benefit since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in the UK in March 2020.

The charity is concerned that with such large numbers of people still making new claims, and the expectation of a slow and difficult economic recovery, it is vital that the government make the £20 uplift permanent to stop thousands being swept into poverty.

The alternatives proposed so far, such as a one-off lump payment or a temporary six month increase, do not provide the practical security and support people need as this crisis goes on.

Until we find out if the government will keep the £20 uplift, Turn2us suggests that:

  • If you currently claim Universal Credit, you should plan right away now for a possible reduction of £20 a week to your benefits.
  • If you are claiming a legacy benefit and are thinking of changing to Universal Credit be aware of a possible £20 reduction when working out if you would be better off.

Jamie Grier, Director of External Affairs at Turn2us, said: “The continued high number of new claims for Universal Credit further demonstrates that the economic consequences of this pandemic are still in full swing. This is exactly why it would be such a terrible idea to reduce benefit payments by £20 a week now.

“The Government did the right thing by introducing the uplift in the first place, and they must now do the right thing by making it permanent and extending it across our social security system. Otherwise, be in no doubt, poverty will rise, and the economic recovery will be slower.”