Thank you for contacting me about the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits.
As I am sure you are aware, this extra support was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020 to support those likely to be facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency. Alongside the temporary increase to Universal Credit and Tax Credits, the Government invested over £352bn in measures to create, support and protect jobs and businesses – as well as introduced measures such as mortgage holidays and additional support for renters, and has worked with energy suppliers to protect those struggling with energy bills.
I welcome that, on top of the planned uprating, the Government extended the temporary £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance until the end of September 2021, meaning that the additional support has remained in place well beyond the end of economic restrictions.
In the 10 years prior to the pandemic – employment was at record high levels, thanks to the Government’s careful handling of the economy. This allowed the Government to provide an unprecedented response during the past 18 months. Now as we open up and our recovery gathers pace, it’s right that focus is switched to getting people back into work and improving their prospects. To support this the Government announced a multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs.
I am encouraged to see this already delivering for those who have been affected by the pandemic including, for example, through the £2 billion Kickstart scheme, which has already seen over 263,000 approved roles created from a range of different sectors for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit, with over 50,000 young people already in Kickstart roles. This will give young people the practical experience that we know is so crucial in securing sustainable employment. Furthermore, the £2.9 billion Restart scheme will provide intensive help to over a million jobseekers who have been out of work for over 12 months.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.