James MacCleary (pictured), Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Lewes and Leader of Lewes District Council, has joined over 30 other Liberal Democrats leading councils in England in writing to the government calling for the £20 increase in Universal Credit, introduced in March 2020, to be made permanent.
The letter follows a vote in Parliament held on Monday 18th January 2021 and in which the government abstained, with all Liberal Democrat MPs attending and joining with other opposition parties to vote in favour. The motion to increase Universal Credit was carried by 278 votes to nil.
“It is very clear that the effects of the pandemic will not suddenly disappear by April.” says James MacCleary. “We should be increasing support for those with least, not reducing it. Government support has been very uneven with many people being left behind during the pandemic. Keeping this increase in Universal Credit will make a difference to many people at a very difficult time.
“Given that the government are also planning to end the furlough scheme in April which will likely increase the number of people in need of Universal Credit significantly, it would seem like a good time to improve support. I hope that the government will listen to us and other parties who are calling for this increase to continue.”