Ministers REJECT call to hike old benefits by £1,000 to help with coronavirus crisis
MINISTERS today rejected calls to hike old legacy benefits to help Brits cope with the coronavirus crisis.
Top benefits advisers had recommended that people on the older benefits system should get an extra £1,000 a year during the pandemic.
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At the start of the crisis ministers announced a boost for people on Universal Credit – the newer six-in-one system – but the help wasn't extended to other forms of benefits.
The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) said the cash should be matched as soon as possible, as it was creating an "untenable" difference between different sets of people.
And it recommended the boost be backdated to the same time as Universal Credit was increased back in March.
MPs on the influential DWP committee had called for the change too.
However, Universal Credit Director Neil Couling said it could take up to five months to make the changes for legacy benefits.
Today DWP chief Therese Coffey replied to the SSAC to tell them there were no plans to increase the old benefits.
She wrote to chair Liz Sayce saying it wasn't on the cards.
She said: "DWP has no plans to increase Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance or Income Support.
"These benefits were increased by 1. 7 per cent in April 2020 following the
Government's announcement to end the benefit freeze.
"It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for UC if they believe that they will be better off.
"There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from January 2021."
She recommended that people work out if they will be better off by using a benefits calculator – but warned they can't back on the old system once they leave.
Two million people have applied for benefits since the coronavirus crisis began, but millions are still on the old benefits system.
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