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Chair comments on Spending Review

25 November 2020

Commenting on today’s statement from the Chancellor on the 2020 Spending Review, Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

“The Chancellor’s announcement of a new programme to get people back into work is very welcome. But, away from the headlines, the Government has slipped out an announcement on benefit rates that will come as a major blow.

Millions of people on Universal Credit are now facing the Christmas period in agonising uncertainty, not knowing whether the Government will cut their income by £20 a week next April. Meanwhile, those on older benefits, who have already missed out on the rise because the DWP’s systems are too old fashioned, will receive an increase of just 0.5% next year. The Government must think again—if it doesn’t, some of the most vulnerable people in society will be faced with a tough winter with no additional support.

On the Restart programme, the Committee will want to look closely at the detail and how it is funded so it can hit the ground running. The Government must ensure it works a great deal better for disabled people than its predecessor, the Work Programme.”

The Committee’s report in October on Universal Credit and the wait for a first payment called on the Government to make permanent the £20 per week increase in the standard UC allowance announced in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Committee’s report on the response of the DWP to the coronavirus pandemic from June will be debated tomorrow in the House of Commons.

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