Universal Credit £20 booster payments set to end ‘before winter’

The £20 boost awarded to Universal Credit claimants during the pandemic will be slashed by winter, reports the Evening Standard.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the extra payments to low-income households for six months in March, but Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey has said it will not continue into winter.

The additional support was launched in April 2020 and was supposed to last a year.

But, the boost was extended for another six months during the 2021 Budget and so will continue until September.

However, concerns have been raised over the new Indian variant of Covid-19.

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Experts worry that a third wave of infections could be imminent meaning that further lockdowns are required – and this would impact peoples incomes and prevent them from working.

Therese Coffey indicated to the Evening Standard that despite the fears of another wave the extra money would not continue past September.

She said: "We’re not anticipating, or I’m not anticipating, any further need to do stuff entirely out of the ordinary.

"We need to try and get people into work and fill the vacancies that we do have in this country."

She suggested that the NHS would be equipped to handle another surge in infections as more people have been vaccinated and so the pressure would be taken off hospitals.

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The £20 boost has been called a “lifeline” for struggling families and adds up to an extra £1040 per year.

Will Quince, who is responsible for looking after Universal Credit at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), said: "It's right that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will continue to look at the economic, societal and health picture going forward, and be able to take a view, in the end of the summer or perhaps as we approach the last quarter of this year, on how best we continue to support some of the lowest paid, most vulnerable, poorest and of course, most disadvantaged in our country.

"To be frank, we don't quite know where we are going to be in the third and fourth quarter."

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