Therese Coffey today defended scrapping the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift, suggesting people could work two additional hours to make up the money.
The Work and Pensions Secretary said the increase had always been a temporary part of the response to the pandemic and maintained that she’s completely happy with it going.
The comments came amid increasing calls to retain the higher level in place to circumvent adding further pressure on struggling families.
Labour leader Keir Starmer said the policy was wrong and the handouts were salvation for numerous people.
The backlash has been fired by Boris Johnson’s extensive £12 billion national insurance hike, but Therese Coffey told BBC Breakfast that she was conscious that £20 a week was about two hours extra work every week and they would be seeing what they could do to help people possibly obtain those additional hours, but ideally also to make sure they’re also in a position to get a better-paid job as well.
Pressed about asking people to work longer, Therese Coffey said that it was a temporary uplift recognising the reason that its introduction was coming to an end. She further said the country was witnessing record numbers of openings.
Questioned if she was completely happy with the end of the uplift, which will start to be phased out from the end of the month. Therese Coffey said that she was happy and emphasised the necessity to expedite their plan for employment.
Labour MPs denounced her remarks, with shadow child poverty secretary Wes Streeting tweeting that for those working families, this will hurt. More children would end up in poverty. Yet Therese Coffey was entirely happy.
The increase will be phased out from the end of the month, based on individual claimant’s payment dates.
Recipients could lose £1,040 yearly if Prime Minister Boris Johnson goes ahead with the cut, and perhaps Therese Coffey should take some of her own advice and just eat two cakes less a day to go with her coffee.
But we keep voting people in!
We’re trillions of pounds in debt, and taking £20 a week off the most disadvantaged in society isn’t going to make a blind bit of difference. And to think, this party will be in power for a while longer, and Boris Johnson has been waning since he took control of the Conservative Party.
Labour have their problems, don’t get me wrong, but I think I would sooner they were in power over this shower party any day of the week, but then that’s just my view and not everyone’s, and that has to be respected.
Full-time minimum wage jobs do not get people out of the poverty bracket, and sometimes it’s considerably easier to remain on benefits because it makes more sense. People might still have to struggle, but at least they’re not struggling for nothing. Why work your butt off to get a pittance at the end of the week?
And usually, the salary doesn’t cover rent, utilities and living costs, and that’s the real problem because lower-paid jobs in restaurant chains like McDonald’s, Pret A Manger, and places like Starbucks were making a fortune out of cheap EU labour.
Consider the man or woman that cleans the streets, where they have to work seven days a week to keep them going in a pokey little flat, or a delivery driver that works seven days a week to keep his family going, and I no doubt there are tens of thousands in the same situation and working on poverty salaries.