Chancellor defends budget after Joseph Rowntree Foundation says decisions on universal credit will put half a million more into poverty
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Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has given a series of interviews this morning although, as usual, much of them covered similar ground.
Rather than wrap them all up together in one post, I will write them up topic by topic.
It is in full all the way through to the end of September because I think that is a more generous approach.
And it is right to also focus on all the other things that we are doing to help families in that situation and those things don’t phase out.
Good morning. We live in an age of instant news, but budgets are political events that take time to analyse in full and the day after is often the point when their full implications start to become a lot clear. Today is no exception. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has been doing the morning broadcast interview round, but as he’s been on air thinktanks have been out with new reports saying his measures will increase poverty.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a thinktank focusing on poverty, says Sunak’s decision to go ahead with the reversal of the £20 per week universal credit uplift, albeit delayed for six months, will plunge 500,000 people into poverty. It says:
The government’s decision to cut universal credit and working tax credit in six months – just as the furlough scheme ends and unemployment peaks – will pull 500,000 people including 200,000 children into poverty as we head into winter.
The OBR’s latest forecasts show that unemployment is expected to increase by a further 500,000 people between now and the peak towards the end of the year. Despite that, the government has chosen to cut the main rate of unemployment support to its lowest level since 1990.
The poorest households will face a 7 per cent fall in income in the second half of 2021-22 due to the removal of the £20 a week universal credit uplift, which will take the basic level of benefits back to levels not seen since the early 1990s at the same time as unemployment is due to peak.