Evidence to parliament shows negatives of ending £20 benefits uplift
Our project’s evidence submission to parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty outlines six strong reasons why ending the £20 temporary uplift to benefits would have negative effects.
The uprating should be understood as less of a ‘boost’ or ‘uplift’ and more as a temporary and partial reversal in cuts to low-income households over the last decade. Withdrawal of the uprating would intensify cuts to low-income social security and increase the risk and depth of poverty.
Withdrawal of the £20 uprating would likely result in increased in-work poverty and actually reduce work incentives for those affected.
Despite large numbers receiving the £20 uprating, claimants still report significant financial difficulties, employing a wide range of strategies in their attempt to get by and meet the basic cost of living. Considerable reliance on friends, family and charitable aid for basic needs and resources highlights the inadequacy of current benefit levels. One in ten existing claimants were accessing food banks to cope with financial struggles during the pandemic. Removal of the £20 uprating would increase and intensify housing insecurity, debts and hunger among claimants.
Removing the uplift would likely reverse the limited progress that has been made in tackling the systematic over-representation of BAME households in poverty over the last decade.
Withdrawal of the £20 uplift would push many claimants, already on the brink, over the edge into destitution. Claimants are concerned about their future income security and employment prospects: they need a decision to be made in order to be able to financially plan for cliff edges to come.
Even if the £20 uplift is withdrawn, poverty rates may remain flat. In the wake of COVID-19, flat or falling median incomes are likely to further undermine the effectiveness of government reporting on low incomes in the years to come. There is a need to better capture and address the changing profile of poverty. There is public support for this with the majority of the general public supporting the £20 uprating both during and beyond the pandemic.
Read our submission in full