At the beginning of the pandemic, in April 2020, the Chancellor announced a £20 per week increase for almost 6 million people who claim Universal Credit – UC.
Because the government were aware that everyday food items were now more expensive, this £20 would help the poorest people to be able to afford to feed themselves and their children properly. However, he didn’t make the same increase for almost 2 million people, including myself, who are still receiving legacy benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance – ESA. There is no logic in giving to one group and not the other. We have missed out on over £1,000. Food, heating and other necesities still cost us more. That extra money would have made a real difference to people who have to make a choice between heating and eating.
Now the government wants to take that uplift away. We are still in lockdown, and it will be months before restrictions end. Food and other everyday items are still going to cost more. There has been a suggestion of a one off £500 for everyone who claims UC. People who have to claim benefits need a regular reliable income. £20 per week for the next 25 weeks is a better way of receiving that money than a one off payment.
Numerous charities including, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, support keeping the uplift. You can sign their petition here.
What else can you do?
Disabled People Against Cuts – DPAC are having a Day of Action on 1st March to support keeping the £20 uplift and extend it to all disabled benefits claimants.
The Budget is happening on 3 March 2021, so you still have time to write to your MP asking them to support the retention of the £20 uplift. Disabled People Against Cuts – DPAC have a template letter you can copy. You can download it here.
To find out the contact details for your MP go to Write to them, put in your postcode and that will give you your MP’s email or postal address.
There is also a poster that you can print and put in your window, as well as links to tweets that you can retweet. These are all on the DPAC website.
DPAC believes that the £20 uplift should be given to all claimants. I agree with them.
Please support this campaign, even if this doesn’t affect you, by lobbying your MP you will be helping other people who need to keep on receiving the £20 a week uplift.