A London Assembly Member has today called on the government not only to make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent but also to increase urgently the minimum wage to a real London living wage of £10.85 an hour.
Marina Ahmad, the AM for Lambeth and Southwark, was responding to new government figures that show that as of July, on average, 39 per cent of the 1million Londoners who claim Universal Credit are actually in work – but their employment conditions are so poor, they need to supplement their income with benefits.
The figures have emerged just ahead of the government hitting the “working poor” with a double whammy, taking about £1,000 per year off UC claimants, by ending the £20 per week covid emergency uplift, while also imposing an increase in the National Insurance that these workers, and their employers, will pay.
Ahmad, the former Bromley councillor, said, “These figures throw further doubt on the government’s claim that the flawed Universal Credit system is some sort of silver bullet for getting people into work.
“Almost 400,000 low-income Londoners on Universal Credit are not only about to lose £20 a week with the Government’s planned cut to the uplift, but they are also set to pay a lot more in National Insurance contributions.
“The claim made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions yesterday that the £20 can simply be ‘made up’ by working two extra hours a week is as inaccurate as it is unhelpful.
“This is because extra earnings are tapered against Universal Credit.
“The Government must now look at ways of reducing this taper rate, alongside keeping the £20 weekly uplift permanent and urgently increasing the minimum wage to a real London living wage of £10.85 an hour.”
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