DWP under fire over ‘two-tier’ benefit system for the poor during coronavirus
Conservative ministers have been urged to end a “two-tier” benefit system for vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis.
SNP MSP Bob Doris said the extra money for Universal Credit applicants should also be given to people receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance.
He said the “unfair disparity” between the old and the new system should end.
The UK recently announced a Â£ 20 per week increase in tax credits and universal credit to Â£ 1,040 per year.
However, those who still benefit from the so-called inherited benefits, which were in place before the introduction of universal credit, do not benefit from the same increase.
They will benefit from a slight rise in inflation of 1.7%, which is well below the Â£ 1,040 pushed to ease the pressure of the pandemic.
Universal Credit applicants will receive around Â£ 95 per week, while those in JC will receive around Â£ 20 less.
People receiving Employment Support Allowance and Income Support will not benefit from the additional assistance either.
Doris, Glasgow MSP Maryhill and Springburn, said: âOf course the recently announced measures designed to protect the incomes of large numbers of people whose livelihoods have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis are the welcome.
âBut these support measures must go further. There is now an unfair disparity between claimants in the old and new systems, which could leave those claiming âlegacy benefitsâ facing financial problems, especially after several years of benefit freezes introduced by the Conservatives. “
He added: âIt is essential that the UK government seriously consider the worrying effects of this two tier system – and provide equivalent improvement to those claiming legacy benefits.
Mhoraig Green, social justice spokesperson for Citizens Advice Scotland, supported the call:
âThe CAS has advocated for increased benefits inherited from the DWP and the Select Committee on Work and Pensions since the Covid-19 epidemic. We are concerned that people are grappling with incomes and the cost of living as the economic reality of the coronavirus begins to be felt by households and this move would help people across the country. “
A DWP spokesperson said people can supplement their JSA payments with Universal Credit based on their family income.
âThe social protection system is up to those who need it in these unprecedented times, processing over 1.5 million new universal credit applications and making more than half a million advances since. mid-March.
âUniversal Credit’s ‘digital-first’ model means capacity can be built quickly, and this agility has enabled it to address demand that would have overwhelmed the complex legacy benefit system. We have redeployed 10,000 frontline employees and are recruiting 5,000 more. “