This Universal Credit uplift had been due to last a year, having been first announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. At the 2021 Spring Budget, it was later extended to the end of September this year.
She asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey “what recent progress her Department has made on tackling child poverty”.
Will Quince, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions replied: “Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to protect the most vulnerable, which is why we spent an additional £7.4billion last year to strengthen the welfare safety support for working-age people.
“Our ambition is to help parents return to work as quickly as possible, as there is clear evidence of the importance of having parents in work for reducing the risk of child poverty.
“That is why we are spending over £30billion on a comprehensive plan for jobs.”
Ms Ali replied: “I thank the Minister for his answer, but 60 percent of kids in my constituency are living in poverty, and over 4.2 million live in poverty across the country.
“The numbers have gone up by 700,000 since 2010, and the Government’s limited extension to the local support grants does not make up for the cuts to universal credit, which will mean that families are £1,000 a year worse off from September.
“Is it not time that the Minister reconsidered that decision and made sure that families do not lose £1,000 from September, so that more children are not forced into poverty?”
Mr Quince said: “I thank the hon. Lady for her question. We are wholly committed to supporting families with children.
“We spent an estimated £111billion, including £7.4billion on Covid-related measures, on working-age welfare in 2020-21. In addition, as the hon. Lady referenced, we introduced the Covid local support grant.
“We have now extended that grant with an additional £160 million in funding between 21 June and 30 September. That brings the total funding package to £429 million.
“For the hon. Lady’s constituency—I reference Tower Hamlets London Borough Council—it means an overall funding package of over £3million.”
Labour MP for Rochdale Tony Lloyd also asked about Universal Credit in the Commons yesterday.
Within her response to his question, Dr Coffey said: “As the House will well know, we are absolutely committed not only to making sure that this is a temporary measure, but to helping people get back into work.
“We believe that that continues to be the best way, especially as there are vacancies across the country, and we will strain every sinew to help make that happen.”
The standard allowance for Universal Credit was increased by £20 per week, as was the basic element in Working Tax Credit.
The extension announced in March 2021 was for six months, meaning it will come to an end in September.
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed