The Business Minister told the BBC’s Nick Robinson that he can not pre-empt the fiscal changes that Rishi Sunak might pursue on Universal Credit in the future. But he added that the UK Government will continue to scrutinise all interventions they make during the pandemic.
Mr Zahawi said: “We have put more money in local government to help families, we have put more money into universal credit.”
Mr Robinson interjected: “But you will also know that baked into that universal credit system unless you do a U-turn is a plan by the Chancellor to take £1,000 away from millions of low income-households.
“The Resolution Foundation has estimated that it is six million households.
“So unless you reverse that benefit cut the advantages that people saw during the lockdown will not continue.”
The Conservative MP replied: “Well that benefit is still there for a number of months to come, probably the toughest months to come.
“I can’t pre-empt any fiscal decisions that the Chancellor might look to make but that money was put in there specifically to help those families.
“I am glad you mentioned it and obviously we will continue to look at all of our interventions as we have done throughout this pandemic.”
Across the UK, more than 5.6 million households rely on Universal Credit for everyday living costs.
Research conducted by 38 Degrees has shown there has been a 37 percent rise in applications since the beginning of the pandemic.
The survey of 1,904 people was carried out between September 14 and 15.
The coronavirus pandemic has triggered an economic crisis, increasing job losses, reductions in salaries and working hours.
This has led to a surge in people seeking benefits to supplement their income.
Published at Thu, 15 Oct 2020 08:13:00 +0000