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UK News

Bishop of Durham urges government to make Universal Credit boost permanent

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Rev Paul Butler, is calling on the Government to make the £20 increase in Universal Credit permanent. 

It comes after a new poll by The Health Foundation with Ipsos Moris showed the move is supported by almost six in ten people. 

59 per cent of those surveyed were in favour of making the increase permanent beyond April 2021, with only 10 per cent opposing it. 

Bishop Paul said the findings were "very encouraging" and hoped that the Government would "respond positively" to the report. 

"Consistently those working with the most vulnerable from across the political spectrum have called for this to become permanent," he said. "I continue to hope that they will also re-think their position on the other 'Legacy Benefits' and raise these by the same £20". 

Back in April, the Government decided to help families hit hard by the pandemic by increasing Universal Credit by £20 per week, but only for a year. However, many charities are warning of the long-lasting effects of the coronavirus, and are saying that the reversal of this support will push many families into poverty. 

Chancellor Rushi Sunak has so far denied committing to extending the increase. 

Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, Dr Jennifer Dixon, said: "The increase is worth £1,040 per year for the six million households receiving it, many with children who can't afford the basics."

"This research shows the public want better and more secure support for the most vulnerable."

She continued: "Making the £20 uplift permanent would show that we are all in this together and the Government really is committed to 'building back better'. It is also a clear opportunity to rebuild public support among those increasingly sceptical about the government's overall approach to handling the pandemic".  

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