Chancellor Rishi Sunak is today expected to bow to pressure to extend a £20-a-week increase in Universal Credit for the six million people facing hardship as a result of the pandemic.
Universal Credit was increased by £20 a week at the start of the pandemic but this boost is set to end in April next year, reports The Mirror.
Extending the credit would cost £6billion, with lobbyists calling for the cash boost to be made permanent.
Mr Sunak is also under pressure to boost benefits for two million people still on ‘legacy’ benefits, most of them disabled, who didn’t get the £20-a-week boost this year.
The £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit is otherwise due to end in April 2021.
The uplift has been a lifeline for many claimants as they’ve struggled to get through the Coronavirus pandemic.
The move could come as part of the Spending Review being announced today at 12.35pm.
At the same time, Mr Sunak is expected to put a pay freeze in place for public sector workers, cut the foreign aid budget, announce cash to tackle potholes, pour more money into schools and set the budget for Government departments.
“In the current environment it’s essential that we provide certainty. So we’ll be doing that for departments and all of the nations of the United Kingdom by setting budgets for next year, with a total focus on tackling Covid and delivering our Plan for Jobs,” Mr Sunak said.
“Long term investment in our country’s future is the right thing to do, especially in areas which are the cornerstone of our society like the NHS, schools and infrastructure. We’ll make sure these areas crucial to our economic recovery have their budgets set for further years so they can plan and help us Build Back Better.”