03 March 2021
We've responded to the announcement today in the budget that the £20 uplift to Universal Credit will be extended for six months.
Dr Julia Faulconbridge, vice-chair of the BPS' Division of Clinical Psychology, said: “We are disappointed that the chancellor has today decided not to give families the certainty and security they need and has instead decided on a short term fix with this six-month extension. Assuming this means that the intention is not to make this change permanent, this only delays the inevitable fact that more families will be pushed into poverty in six months’ time because of the decisions made by the chancellor. This will hit more families at a time when unemployment is forecast to be even higher.
"We are disappointed that yet again those on legacy benefits have been ignored, with the failure to extend the uplift to these groups leaving thousands of families cut adrift. £20 is such a small amount of money for a family but it has been a lifeline for the increasing number of people and families who have become dependent on universal credit through no fault of their own.
“Psychologically the impact of a six-month extension and the uncertainty this brings is very damaging and this decision will have a significant impact on the mental (and physical) health of those already placed at risk as a result of living in poverty. Increased uncertainty and worry are known to be psychological stressors, and combined with the relentless grind of trying to make ends meet, leave people just trying to survive and struggling to be the independent adults and parents that they want to be. People need security at this turbulent time and today the chancellor has failed to provide that.
“The government needs to take the approach we take in health, that prevention is better than cure and take a long-term approach to supporting families and children. Extending the uplift permanently is an investment in the nation’s mental and physical health and we urge the government to reconsider this decision.”