CAS: Universal Credit uplift must be made permanent in upcoming Budget

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) is telling MPs ahead of this week’s Budget that the Chancellor must make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit (UC) permanent.

In a briefing sent to all Scottish MPs, the charity sets out how without the uplift UC will fall below the rate of inflation and risk leaving thousands of Scottish households in poverty.

Key points to the briefing include:

  • From March 2020 to January 2021, Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland have provided over 131,000 pieces of advice on Universal Credit (UC).
  • The £20 a week uplift brought the value of UC back in line with increases to the cost of living over the past 8 years, following years of below inflation increases and freezes.
  • If the £20 weekly increase is removed, UC will be worth 11.5% less in real terms than it was when introduced in 2013.
  • The uplift increases the number of CAB clients with complex debt needs who are able to meet essential living costs by 28%.
  • Without the uplift, nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of CAB complex debt clients will be unable to meet essential living costs.

Nina Ballantyne, CAS social justice spokesperson, said: “We’re urging the Chancellor to make the UC uplift permanent ahead of the budget next week.

“Following years of below inflation increases and the benefits freeze, the need to uprate Universal Credit to a more adequate rate was already urgent prior to COVID. Anything less than making the £20 increase permanent would ignore the real terms reduction in the value of UC that has taken place since its introduction.

“The uplift has been key for keeping many households above water. Making it permanent next week will give people the security they need as the economy reopens.

“The Chancellor has an opportunity next week to ensure this vital support is available for families as we emerge from the pandemic. The alternative would sweep people in Scotland and across the UK into poverty.”

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