Responding to calls to extend the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift, Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:
“Having spent so many billions over the course of the pandemic, it will be of little surprise if the Chancellor gives into demands to keep the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift for a while longer. Many people are indeed under financial pressure, but across-the-board benefit increases are a wasteful use of taxpayers’ money.
“The Government cannot just keep acceding to every demand of this kind if it is to bring any discipline to its spending. We are borrowing a hair-raising amount of money every month, and new taxes are threatened. Higher taxes will not help the recovery, which in turn will hit the poorest the hardest.
“When the pandemic has run down, we must do all we can to get people back into work as quickly as possible, through relaxing regulations which discourage businesses from offering employment. People need jobs, not continuing dependence on Government handouts. Any extension of the UC uplift beyond April – which would add £6 billion to the annual welfare bill – should not be made permanent.”
Notes to editors
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