To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in the context of the potential increase in energy bills in the coming months, what assessment she has made of the planned end of the £20 uplift in universal credit on claimants' ability to heat their homes.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
28 September 2021
No assessment has been made. The Cold Weather Payment (CWP) scheme helps vulnerable people in receipt of certain income-related benefits to meet the additional costs of heating during periods of severe cold weather. Cold Weather Payments are targeted at those in receipt of eligible benefits with a pension element or disability component or where there is a child under five in the household.
The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.
Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.