Government should turn day-one Universal Credit loans into grants immediately 

boris johnston 1.jpg 2By Democrat reporter

Responding to reports that that the Government has refused to axe the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments despite an additional 500,000 claims in 9 days, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

“The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat with millions of families facing financial hardship.

“There are therefore legitimate questions that the Prime Minister Boris Johnston, left, must answer over his Government’s failure to act more quickly and compassionately for the huge numbers of people now facing a sudden financial crisis.

“With more and more people needing to apply to universal credit, we must ensure all who are eligible and need support are getting it – and quickly.

“A five week wait has always been too slow and frankly unacceptable.

“That is why Liberal Democrats have been calling on the Government to turn day-one Universal Credit loans into grants immediately and guarantee anyone who is laid off receives at least 20 days of full pay, starting now.”

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone has secured cross party support for his letter to the Chancellor calling for a moratorium on VAT on energy bills through the coronavirus crisis.

The letter comes in the wake of figures from Uswitch forecasting that households could see bills increase as much as £195 as  a result of spending more time at home due to government restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross said: “Right across the UK people are desperately worried about how they will make ends meet in the face of this crisis. Many already find themselves out of work, on reduced pay or having to rely on Universal Credit. Ensuring people using prepaid meters are not cut off is a first step, but there are many who will need further assistance.

“The very least the government can do is offer people a break from VAT on energy bills – this would be a quick and effective step which will immediately assist some of the poorest in our society. It will at least partly alleviate the additional financial pressure created by the need to stay at home.”

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