"Not exactly 'levelling up', is it?” - readers' discuss the end of the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift

Earlier this week the UN-appointed rapporteur on extreme poverty said that the removal of the Universal Credit uplift is based on a very “ill-informed understanding of its impact”. This followed numerous comments from MPs criticising the decision to stop the scheme.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 3:20 pm

We asked our readers’ what they thought of the end to the scheme, here are a selection of their comments on the matter:

Keith Tyree is of the opinion that “it should be kept ,it also tops up low paid workers. Legacy benefits aint had out extra all the way through people are struggling already to all those that say no try living on it, it could be you one day just think about others”

Whereas David Booth says that “The problem isn't the uplift, the problem lies with the whole UC system, all the problems with it that have arisen were pointed out even before it was introduced, not fit for purpose.”

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 03: A Universal Credit sign in the window of the Job Centre in Westminster on May 3, 2016 in London, England. The Resolution Foundation, chaired by former Conservative Minister David Willets, has said the Government's benefit reform has "veered off track" due to cost-cutting. They say that 2.5 million families could be worse off, some by over ��3,000 a year. Universal Credit is a single payment and replaces six current benefits, including Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Kirsty Barber commented, saying “Yes it should. I know, let’s s**t all over the worse off people in this country whilst the mps sit on their golden thrones and decide to stop giving families this extra bit of money.”

Bobbie Bolt also agreed with the previous comments, stating that “Many claimants of UC have health issues or disabilities which prevent them working full time. UC also tops up those on a low income or those who can only work part time. £20 extra is a lifeline for so many and also feeds back into the economy to benefit us all.”

"People were unable to exist on it before the uplift and in fact thousands on it died. What makes them think people can exist without the uplift now? This is being kind to what appears to be genocide”, wrote Clare Collins.

And Eugene Solomon added his thoughts, “Yes. Taking 20 quid off the skintest? Not exactly 'levelling up', is it?”

Meanwhile, David Scothern says that we should approach this differently to ensure a sustainable life for everyone, “We should have a universal basic income. Sadly, we have the Tories instead.” A point which was agreed upon by a few of our readers but not Nick Wragg, who replied “no we really shouldn't because that will just increase the tax for everyone.”

David responded to Nick, stating that “more money in circulation means more money spent on goods and services. This means more businesses can stay open and employ more people. This means more tax is paid.”

"It needs to stay, it's not just taking money from the most vulnerable, it's taking out of shops and businesses who benefit from their custom” replied Rowan Colver. This comment was followed up by Frank McCormack, who pointedly replied “Yes or some parents wont survive the winter or their children.”

In closing on the ‘pro’ side of the discussion, Neil Thomas said “100 per cent yes money only gets spent back into economy anyway or give a £20 food voucher or free travel to work if they work otherwise crime could go up to feed families costing government even more money thieving ect imo.”

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On the other side of the coin, some people were either not too fussed about it or against the idea entirely. Hudson David commented “I think it was only a temporary income, if so it eventually will have ended anyway”

Rachel Shaw is not one for it, saying “No it should be scrapped” and Sandra Canny says “No, it was a temporary measure.”

And Mickl Betts said “No, people should be paid appropriately by their employers negating the need for tax payer funded wage relief!” In an ideal world this would indeed be the case.

Paul Atkin said “No..people will have to adjust to the change sadly!”

Hannah Sampson had a response for the negative or critical comments about those claiming UC, “I get universal credit as I’m a single parent but I do work full time - I wish I’d never got it in the first place I’m now going to loose nearly £200 a year on the tax hike. Not everyone on universal credit doesn’t work!”

And finally this comment from Jodi Booker struck a chord with a few of our readers, she replied saying “All these people who say ‘I’ve lived on less’ are you ok? Do you really want people to suffer just because you have? Were you a lazy waster when you had no money? What is wrong with people?!”

Most people seemed to be in favour of the scheme, aware of the impact that it has on the livelihoods of many and some were firmly against it. Other readers who were against the scheme highlighted the fact that the scheme wouldn’t even need to exist if people were paid proportionately in line with the cost of living, and some people (confusingly) stated that the scheme should only remain if the claimant was a UK passport holder. What is clear is that the removal of the uplift, alongside rising living and energy costs, will no doubt put those on limited finances in an even more precarious position in the coming months.

What do you think the answer is to such societal issues?

Thank you for all of your comments and responses readers’, even if the opinions differ, we appreciate you sharing your thoughts in a polite manner.