North East religious leaders urge Government to make £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent

Senior North East religious leaders are calling for a Universal Credit top-up of £20 to be made permanent.

In a letter written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, religious leaders have expressed their concerns for struggling families and the economy.

Religious leaders have joined charities in urging the Chancellor to rethink cutting the uplift to benefit claimants.

The letter goes: "The past 18 months have been the most challenging our nation has faced since the end of World War II.

"We are deeply concerned at the impact the proposal to now cut the £20 uplift will have on the poorest in our nation.

"This will come at the very point when the furlough scheme ends. It will also coincide with significant increased costs for electricity and gas just when the weather begins to turn.

"We note that this concern has been expressed widely by all organisations who work with the poorest, and those who monitor the impact of such policies on them."

The extra £20 a week during the pandemic is due to be phased out this autumn.

But charities, trade unions and business leaders fear that'll cause poverty to increase.

The government says Universal Credit's provided for six million people during the pandemic.

They added that the temporary uplift is part of a £400 billion package continuing beyond the end of restrictions.