Government raises universal credit and housing benefit

The government has increased housing benefit and universal credit so the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents.

Almost £7bn is being pumped into welfare to protect people’s incomes.

Universal credit is being increased by £1,000 a year, with the standard allowance of £323.22 a month for a single person and £507.37 for couples being raised for 12 months.

Working Tax Credit is being raised by the same amount.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We warmly welcome the steps government are taking to create a proper safety net through the welfare system that protects families from losing their homes.

“The move to increase housing benefit so that it covers the bottom third of rents will ensure that people are not pushed into homelessness during this outbreak.

“The need for this cannot be understated – families must have the security of a safe, permanent home.”

John McDonnell MP, Labour’s shadow chancellor said: “The Chancellor has shifted direction but unfortunately not far enough or fast enough.

“The government must give people the economic security to stay at home by lifting the level of Statutory Sick Pay, but it appears that the government hasn’t done that today.

“Sick pay is being left at a level that the health secretary said he could not live on, yet this is what the self-employed are being asked to get by on.”

Acting Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: “The government’s actions today show just how threatening coronavirus is to our economy and our society.

“Whilst the package for employees is welcome, Liberal Democrats are worried that far too little is being done for the self-employed, for those on zero hours’ contracts or for those on statutory sick pay and benefits.”