Universal Credit: Boris under pressure to back £1,000 extension – PM facing vote showdown | UK | News (Reports)

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The Prime Minister has been warned that millions of families will be £1,000 a year worse off if the Government scraps the increase. He is facing pressure from charities to keep the uplift, with Action For Children saying the case against cutting it “couldn’t be clearer” with unemployment set to peak in the summer. 

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said the Government must make the £20-a-week increase permanent to “help stop hundreds of thousands of people falling into poverty”.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds, meanwhile, said the cut would leave “unemployment support at a 30-year low in the midst of a jobs crisis and threaten our economic recovery”.

In a letter to his opposite number Therese Coffey, he said: “For the Government to abstain on whether people can afford to pay their bills would force unnecessary uncertainty on already struggling families.

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“On behalf of the Labour Party I offer you our support if you chose to put aside party politics and work with us to support families through the pandemic.”

In a statement released by the Conservatives, Ms Coffey said Labour would “scrap Universal Credit” and “leave millions of people with an uncertain future”.

“This Conservative Government has consistently stepped up to support low income families and the most vulnerable in society throughout this pandemic and will continue to do so,” she added.

Labour leader Sir Keir said that failing to give families a “helping hand” through the coronavirus pandemic would “slow our economic recovery as we come out of it”.

The Government temporarily increased the benefit to help families through the Covid crisis, but the uplift is due to expire in April, potentially hitting the incomes of six million families.

READ MORE: Universal Credit: Labour to force vote on payment uplift 

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“If we don’t give a helping hand to families through this pandemic, then we are going to slow our economic recovery as we come out of it.

“We began 2021 with one of the worst death tolls in Europe and the deepest recession of any major economy.

“Without action from Government, millions of families face a £1,000 per year shortfall in the midst of a historic crisis.

“We urge Boris Johnson to change course and give families certainty today that their incomes will be protected.”

Meanwhile, a £20-a-week increase in Universal Credit was a “temporary measure”, Dominic Raab has said, as he hinted that a decision on whether it would remain would not be made until March.

The Foreign Secretary told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “We always said this would be a temporary measure, I think it is right to look at it in the round.

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“We have a March budget coming up and I think it is right to have scrutiny right the way through, but this is a political debate rather than the Government’s measures which can, I think, be looked at in the round rather than dripped out one by one.”

He also confirmed that Conservative MPs will abstain when Labour uses its opposition day debate in the Commons on Monday to force a vote on the plans.

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