Universal Credit claimants could get £500 bonus to ease lockdown cash pressures

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Universal Credit claimants and people on other benefits look set to get a £500 bonus, according to latest reports.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is reportedly planning the one-off payment for six million people, The Times reports.

The payment comes as the Government is to debate and vote on Universal Credit on Monday.

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An uplift in the benefits which is worth £20 a week – or £1,000 a year – is due to end in April with the single £500 payment seen as part of the solution, CoventryLive reports.

This follows fears many more people may begin to claim Universal Credit when the furlough scheme ends in March.

Changes to furlough and Universal Credit could be announced in the Budget on March 3 with campaigners calling for payments to be increased.

Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation think tank, told The Times: “The minimum the government should do is extend the uplift for another year but the truth is we need a permanently higher basic level of protection.”

Hodge Hill is the most deprived constituency in the city, according to Birmingham City Council’s 2019 Deprivation in Birmingham study, based on the indices of deprivation.

Sparkbrook & Balsall Heath East, Bordesley Green and Lozells are the three most deprived wards. The least deprived constituency is Sutton Coldfield, and the seven least deprived wards are all in Sutton.

Ten most deprived wards

  1. Sparkbrook and Balsall Heath East
  2. Bordesley Green
  3. Lozells
  4. Castle Vale
  5. Alum Rock
  6. Newtown
  7. Heartlands
  8. Gravelly Hill
  9. Balsall Heath West
  10. Birchfield

Labour will use its debate in the Commons on Monday to force a vote on plans to end the temporary increase to the benefit, which was introduced by Rishi Sunak in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds said: “Boris Johnson’s decision to cut Universal Credit will hit millions of families who are already struggling to get by.

“There cannot be another repeat of the Government’s indecision and mismanagement of the free school meals scandal. The Government must put families first during this lockdown and act now instead of waiting until the last minute.

“If ministers refuse, Conservative MPs have the opportunity to vote with Labour and give families the support they need to get through this pandemic.”

The motion Labour will put to the Commons on Monday will state: “That this House believes that the Government should stop the planned cut in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit in April and give certainty today to the six million families for whom it is worth an extra £1,000 a year.”

A Government spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting the lowest-paid families through the pandemic and beyond to ensure that nobody is left behind.

“That’s why we’ve targeted our support to those most in need by raising the living wage, spending hundreds of billions to safeguard jobs, boosting welfare support by billions and introducing the £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme to help children and families stay warm and well-fed during the coldest months.”





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