Universal Credit and working tax credits House of Commons 18 January 2021

There have been significant social and economic impacts from the pandemic, which will be felt for some time to come.


Key messages

  • LGA’s view is that the £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit (UC) should be retained to provide necessary support to low-income households and to prevent unsustainable costs falling on councils.
  • The latest statistics show that the UC caseload almost doubled between January and October 2020
  • There have been significant social and economic impacts from the pandemic, which will be felt for some time to come. A wide range of research shows that low income households have particularly hard-hit by the impacts on income and employment (for instance, the JRF UK poverty report 2020; Social Metrics Commission poverty and covid-19)
  • The mainstream benefits system should provide the principle safety net for those at risk of financial hardship.  This will ensure that limited local welfare funding can be targeted to provide additional support for people with the most significant and complex needs.
  • Councils and local partners are already providing a wide range of vital support to low income households in their places.  Although some additional funding has been made available, for example the Winter Support Grant, this has been short-term and piecemeal. 
  • The LGA has consistently called for uplifts in the mainstream benefits system to be retained throughout economic recovery, and for local welfare funding to be restored and put on a sustainable footing.