MPs back motion calling for Universal Credit £20 uplift cut to be cancelled
Four Conservative MPs rebelled to back Labour’s motion on cancelling the Universal Credit cut, according to the division list
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Tory MPs have warned Boris Johnson against “hastily” reducing Universal Credit (UC) for millions of families, as the House of Commons backed a motion to cancel the cut.
Former work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb insisted the Conservatives should be “standing on the side” of supermarket workers, cleaners and carers and said it was unclear why the Government wanted to remove the £20 per week uplift to UC.
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At a glance: 5 key points
- Universal Credit is a benefit for working-age people, which was introduced to replace six benefits and merge them into one payment
- The government wants to reduce a temporary £20-per-week boost to universal credit that was added in response to the pandemic
- The extra payments will be phased out from the end of September, with the Government arguing it would cost £6 billion to retain them
- Labour tabled a motion asking the Government to cancel the planned cut, amid concerns it will reduce support for families by up to £1,040 per year
- MPs supported it by 253 votes to zero, majority 25, but the motion is non-binding and does not force the Government to act
What’s been said
Conservative MP John Stevenson (Carlisle) argued retaining the benefit boost would “improve many people’s lives” and aid the Government’s levelling up agenda.
Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney, advised that keeping UC at its pandemic rate will help “prevent many people from falling into poverty and despair”, adding: “It would also provide the platform from which families can plan for better futures and can then realise their aspirations.
“As a society, and as an economy, we will all be better for that.”
Labour’s Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) warned low-paid workers were facing a “triple whammy with prices and bills going up, National Insurance contributions going up and now this £1,000 cut in Universal Credit”.
The division list showed four Conservative MPs rebelled to support Labour’s motion, including Mr Aldous, Mr Stevenson, Neil Hudson (Penrith and The Border), and William Wragg (Hazel Grove).
Labour former minister Dame Angela Eagle, raising a point of order, said it was a “disgrace” the Government had abstained on the vote and claimed they “haven’t got the guts” to properly deal with such matters in the division lobbies.
For the Government, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey the Government timed the end of the UC uplift to match the end of the furlough scheme, and said more people would benefit from plans to boost “pay, prospects and prosperity” in work as the £20 uplift ends.
She went on: “As our economy continues to recover it is right that we are investing in jobs and skills to boost pay, prospects and prosperity for people right across the UK as part of our plan to level up and build back better.”A message from the editor:
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