Since the start of the pandemic, unprecedented numbers of people are having to access the social security system for the very first time (5.7 million as of 8 October 2020, a 90% increase since 12 March 2020).
The latest data shows that there were 13,108 people and 11,910 households on Universal Credit (UC) in Islington North. This equates to 60% of all households on benefits in the constituency.
Figures released by the End Child Poverty Network earlier this year show rises in child poverty in the past five years – “fuelled by stagnating family incomes”. This includes 2831 children living in poverty in Islington North.
I am very disappointed that the Government have not committed to maintaining the UC uplift. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), End Child Poverty Action Group, Gingerbread and over 50 other organisations issued a public statement expressing their concern that there is “no conceivable scenario in which this lifeline will not be necessary”.
Not maintaining the uplift will, in my view, push an estimated half a million people below the poverty line. I am totally opposed to this and will continue to challenge this decision in any way that I can.
I continually speak out to make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits permanent, extending it to legacy benefits, and suspending repayments of advances and other benefit deductions. I voted against the Government’s plan to drop the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.
Additionally, I want you to know that I also support continuing the Covid Local Grants Scheme.
These are extremely important issues and I am pleased to know that many in Islington North and beyond appreciate this.