This week Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey announced that the government has no plans to continue the £20 Universal Credit uplift, confirming that payments will be ending in late September.
Coffey also announced that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be contacting claimants so they are aware that their payments will change in late September whilst at the same time and they will be directed to budgeting advice.
The £20 a week uplift was increased for six months in March after charities and organisations had warned the government that it and would damage the mental health and physical health of those living in poverty.
The government’s answer to this is to announce that they’ve doubled the amount of work coaches and organisations that they work with, meanwhile totally ignoring the fact that the well being of thousands of people depends upon the £20 uplift.
Their plans obviously don’t include how to feed themselves and their families when their vital £20 is taken away from them. it might not be a lot of money to some, but it has enabled people to buy some food, get some glass and electric and to top up a mobile phone or internet if they have access to these.
Having a good internet connection is requested by the DWP and failure to have this can, and has ended with claimants being sanctioned.
The announcement to end the uplift payments was made after ignoring the advice of six former Conservative work and pension secretaries whom have requested that the Chancellor to make the £20 uplift permanent. They warned that if they failed to extend the uplift it would cause immense damage to living standards, health and the opportunity to improve their lives.
Indeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson whilst talking to the Commons Liaison Committee had requested to reconsider any plans to end the uplift and also said that higher skilled jobs are the best way forward.
Therese Coffey then announced that a collective decision was made to “shift the focus strongly into getting people into work” as the economy opens up. She also announced that this will ‘help’ when the country reaches step four of the Covid 19 road map and ‘more opportunities’ will be created for claimants.
Conservative MP Nigel Mills is quoted as saying “It sounds like this is a ‘dates not data’ decision, that we’ve just chosen to end this at the end of September and not going to review that based on any data at all.“’We’ll just kind of assume it will all be OK’ – that seems to be a pretty fair summary of what you’re saying: ‘We haven’t got any data yet that you don’t need this uplift, but we’re going to take it away regardless because that’s what we planned in the Budget’.”
Needless to say this is a terrible decision made by the government, fronted by Therese Coffey Work and Pensions Secretary. This decision has been made whilst ignoring the evidence given to her by charities, organisations and felt conservative Mp’s.
Not only will the refusal to extend the £20 uplift cause immense suffering and stress, they still fail to recognise that disabled people are struggling to get by and haven’t been included in any £20 uplift plans.
Along with the governments blatant discrimination against disabled people, the government is also still ploughing ahead to end lockdown and mask wearing whilst covid 19 cases and deaths are increasing.
Many disabled people have been housebound unable to go out for fear of infection and in many cases a lack of help. I’m very concerned that demands will be made of them to travel to assessments and DWP appointments when its obviously not safe to do so.
The government have blood on their hands for more than one reason.
Personally I’m going to continue to wear a mask and social distance for many reasons, one being that I’m still battling with Long Covid and other health conditions. Catching covid again, even though I’m fully vaccinated isn’t something that I want to go through again.
I’m also extremely worried about my children and grandchildren catching this new variant of Covid 19 also.
How am I? Today is another migraine day for me, yippee. I hope that it passes asap.
I really hope that you are all ok. Lots of love to you all.
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