At the start of the pandemic the Government made an important decision to give an extra £20 a week to those receiving Universal Credit, helping those on the lowest incomes to continue paying their bills and feeding their families during an uncertain time.
At the end of March 2021, just as unemployment is expected to soar, this uplift will come to an end, pulling half a million people into poverty.
We are calling on the government to Keep The Lifeline by making permanent the £20 uplift and extending it to those on legacy benefits too.
We know the Government are discussing whether to do this right now. By writing to your MP today you can show that you are concerned about levels of poverty in this country and want the Government to take action in the budget on 3rd March 2021.
Please write to your MP today by following these steps:
1. Use our template below to draft a letter to your MP – personalise it by adding your experience, or the experience of those you support, to give more impact.
2. Find your MP by typing in your postcode here – click on them to find their email address
3. Email your letter to your MP – make sure to include your address at the end so they know you are one of their constituents.
4. Please copy in firstname.lastname@example.org to your email or let us know you have taken action so we can keep track of which MPs have been contacted. When you hear back let us know what they say in their response.
5. Encourage others to get involved too before the budget on 3rd March 2021
Template letter to MPs
Dear XXXX MP
My name is [INSERT NAME] and I am one of your constituents. I am writing to you today because I am very concerned about the plan to end the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits at the end of March.
This uplift was an important response to the economic uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus pandemic and threw a lifeline to people struggling on low incomes. In April 2021 this lifeline is due to end, but the current economic uncertainty will not, with high levels of unemployment predicted. By taking away the lifeline of £20 a week 6.2 million families will see an overnight loss of £1,040 and around half a million more people, including 200,000 children, will be pulled into poverty according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Unlike people receiving Universal Credit, those on legacy benefits (Employment Support Allowance, Income Support and Job Seekers’ Allowance) never received the uplift. Many of those in receipt of legacy benefits are people with disabilities, long-term conditions, and carers, who had to struggle through the pandemic without the benefit of an extra £20 a week.
For some, £20 may not seem like a lot of money. However, for those facing job losses, reduced working hours, and cuts to their income, £20 a week can mean the difference between getting into debt and keeping their families fed and bills paid.
Please do urgently write to Rishi Sunak and Thérèse Coffey, and ask them to do the right thing for your constituents by making the £20 uplift to Universal Credit & Working Tax Credit permanent and extending it to those on Employment Support Allowance, Income Support and Job Seekers’ Allowance. By announcing this in the Budget on 3rd March Rishi Sunak can give families ongoing certainty and security in a very anxious time.
Thank you for your help with this matter. I look forward to hearing back from you soon about what action you have taken to help keep the £20 uplift and support those on low incomes.
Your name, and address (so they know you are a constituent)
Caritas Westminster are part of the End Child Poverty Coalition. Between 8th – 14th February they are asking people to meet with their MPs virtually to discuss the issue of child poverty and how it can be addressed through policies such as the £20 uplift. If you would like to speak with your MP on this you can find a step by step guide of how to get involved here.
Please email email@example.com with any questions and to let us know how you get on.
Keep an eye on our social media accounts for an easy way to spread the word on this campaign and receive updates, and follow the hashtag #KeepTheLifeline