As published by The Yorkshire Post:
Conservative MP David Davis has called on the Government to reintroduce the £20 uplift to Universal Credit later this year in response to the cost-of-living crisis.
The weekly uplift was paid to Universal Credit claimants between March 2020 and October 2021 in response to the pandemic.
Almost six million people in England, Scotland and Wales are in receipt of Universal Credit – 40 per cent of them in employment.
Mr Davis, who is MP for Haltemprice and Howden, suggested in Parliament that the funding should be restored.
He said: “This year Government receipts are at a record high and quite rightly billions of pounds have been announced in cost-of-living support.
“But for those who are on means-tested benefits, the support is somewhere between £1,000 and £1,200 – roughly what they lost when the £20 Universal Credit uplift was withdrawn.”
Mr Davis said the removal of the uplift had caused 2.3 million people to fall into debt, according to research from Citizens Advice.
Speaking during Department of Work and Pensions questions, he said: “Times were tough during the Covid crisis but they are going to get tougher this year. Will the Secretary of State or the Minister look at the question of Universal Credit and the £20 that has been taken away from it with a view to returning it by the Financial Statement in the autumn?”
DWP minister David Rutley would not commit to looking at the idea and highlighted the £27bn of support committed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to dealing with cost-of-living issues. The measures include a £400 discount on energy bills for every household.
Mr Rutley said: “I understand the point that my Honourable Friend has made but it is important to highlight that the uplift to Universal Credit was only ever a temporary uplift for the immediate impact of coronavirus.
“Since then we have been monitoring the situation, providing the support that is required at those particular times.
“That has led to this latest package which now totals £27bn being put in place.
“It is vital to highlight that at a time of record vacancies, there is a responsibility and requirement to help people tackle poverty through being able to get into the workplace and to progress in employment as well.”