Rishi Sunak planning one-off £500 payment to benefit claimants
The £20 increase announced last March comes to an end in April
Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak is planning a one-off payment of £500 to those who claim universal credit this April, according to a Times exclusive.
The one-off payment would replace a £20-a-week increase that came into action last March to help people deal with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
That boost is coming to an end in April, cutting the income of around six million people at a time when the economy is shrinking rapidly and cases of Covid-19 still at record highs despite the rollout of the vaccination process.
Suank has reportedly met with prime minister Boris Johnson and Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, to discuss alternatives to maintaining the increased weekly payment. With a potential revolt from back benchers on their hands if they continue to pay the same rate of universal credit, the trio appear to have come to the conclusion that a one off payment is a happy medium.
Labour have called for the £20 increase to remain in place, and while many Tory MPs are also in favour of extending it, they could be whipped to vote against it in parliament.
Rishi Sunak, the man who tried to kickstart the economy during a pandemic by subsidising eating in restaurants for those already comfortable enough to do so, is reportedly worried that extending the £20 increase to the poorest in society could lead to it becoming permanent.
Other more compassionate ministers are of the belief that as the incoming recession grows deeper, the one off payment of £500 will be insufficient.
With the Furlough scheme set to end in March, unemployment looks set to skyrocket. Sunak will announce his final decision on Budget day on March 3rd.