More than 50 charities and charity sector bodies have linked up to call for to increase to state benefits for beneficiaries impacted by Covid-19.
Action for Children, Barnardo’s Centrepoint and Macmillan Cancer Support are among those to sign the joint letter, which calls on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to permanently increase Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits as well as other benefits including Income Support.
Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits have been temporarily increased by £20 a week. This uplift ends in April next year, but the charity coalition wants the rise to be permanent.
Today, we have come together with over 50 organisations to urge the Government to #KeepTheLifeline and make the £20 increase to #UniversalCredit permanent. It’s vital that the Government does not whip this lifeline away and plunge 700,000 people into poverty overnight. pic.twitter.com/3ZE0rU6ufe— Joseph Rowntree Fdn. (@jrf_uk) September 30, 2020
Others to sign the letter, that has been instigated by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, include Shelter, Save the Children, Oxfam and the Trussell Trust.
The End Child Poverty Coalition, the Association of Charitable Organisations and the Disability Benefits Consortium network of more than 100 organisations, have also signed.
“Falling incomes and rising costs throughout the pandemic have put families under immense financial pressure, but the £20 uplift has been a lifeline that has enabled many of them to keep their heads above water and has stopped us seeing a marked surge in poverty levels,” states their letter.
“However, if the uplift ends in April 2021, this good work risks being undermined. Modelling by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation indicates that around 16 million people will be in households facing an overnight income loss equivalent to £1,040 a year, with those on the lowest incomes and families with children being hardest hit.”
The letter comes as many charities and charitable trusts face rising demand for support among families affected by the health crisis.
Last month it emerged that applications for funding from grant giving charities have more than doubled since Covid-19 lockdown and are set to rise further when the government’s job retention scheme ends. This includes supporting disadvantaged families pay their bills and rent and buy food.