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Committee to hold session on Universal Credit £20 increase and hearing with Secretary of State

1 February 2021

The Work and Pensions Committee will this week hold two sessions – on the £20 increase in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit and with the Secretary of State Dr Thérèse Coffey MP.

Purpose of the session

The first of this week’s sessions on Tuesday at 2.30pm will hear from policy experts and support organisations and will examine proposals to support people claiming benefits during the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting will explore the debate around keeping the £20 rise in the basic UC rate and Working Tax Credit, brought in by the Government as a result of the pandemic. It will also examine the possible impact of its removal and alternatives such as one-off payments to people claiming benefits.

The Committee has previously recommended that the increase should be made permanent. The Government has refused to commit to extending the uplift beyond April, amid reports that it is considering a one-off payment instead.

On Wednesday at 9.30am, the Committee will question Dr Coffey and the DWP’s Permanent Secretary Peter Schofield. In addition to questions about how people are being supported both in and out of work during the pandemic, the Committee is likely to ask more widely about Universal Credit and disability benefits. MPs will also have the opportunity to raise other policy areas such as health and safety, longer-term employment schemes and the DWP’s approach to tackling poverty.

Witnesses 

Tuesday 2nd February

Panel 1 at 2.30pm

  • Minesh Patel, Principal Policy Manager, Citizens Advice
  • Peter Tutton, Head of Policy, Research and Public Affairs, StepChange
  • Laura Peters, Head of Advice and Information Services, Rethink Mental Illness

Panel 2 at 3.30pm

  • James Heywood, Head of Welfare and Opportunity, Centre of Policy Studies
  • Professor Donald Hirsch, Director, Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University
  • Iain Porter, Social Security Policy and Partnerships Manager, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Wednesday 3rd February

At 9.30am

  • Rt Hon Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
  • Peter Schofield, Permanent Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

Further information

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