IT’S utterly unacceptable that more working families are being swept into poverty, and whoever is our next Prime Minister desperately needs a plan to fix this.
In recent weeks Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt promised to splash the cash, spending billions on tax cuts if they become Prime Minister.
Johnson promised to cut the higher rate of tax for people earning over £50,000, as well as raising the level people pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs). Hunt also pledged to do the latter.
We do need to see more money spent on hard-pressed families and raising the NIC threshold is one way of doing this.
But experts at the IFS said this would overwhelmingly benefit people at the top and middle earners.
As well as costing £11billion a year, there is a danger it misses out workers who need help the most.
But a far cheaper and more effective way of slashing poverty, bringing Britain back together and helping those hard-pressed families on lower incomes is by shaking up Universal Credit.
This can easily be done through increasing work allowances and reducing the taper rate.
The candidates would be better off backing The Sun’s Make Universal Credit Work campaign – which aims to help Brits keep more of what they earn alongside getting help with childcare costs upfront, and slashing the five-week wait.
Not only is this the right thing to do, it would give millions of low paid Britons a much-needed pay boost – and save billions in the process.
Increasing work allowances by £500 and slashing the taper rate by 10p would boost the incomes of 9.5 million people, lift 700,000 people out of poverty, at a cost of £5.5 billion.
The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work
UNIVERSAL Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment.
One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.
But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.
And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.
Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.
It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the Government to:
- Get paid faster: The Government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
- Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
- Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.
Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.
Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email UniversalCredit@the-sun.co.uk to share your story.
The next PM could go beyond tax cuts to help struggling families.
They could make life a lot easier by reducing the wait-times on Universal Credit and taking action on the cost of living. Helping parents get their childcare support up front and making sure housing benefit keeps up with rents would the ease the pressure on tight budgets, as well as relieve the stress and strain of juggling bills and worries about making ends meet.
All of this would cost substantially less than the £11 billion both camps have promised to spend.
By backing The Sun’s campaign, it would ensure money is not squandered and people who need it most receive the full benefit. It would show Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are on the side of hard-up families.
There is a real urgency to this. With the school holidays looming, just this week a report by Save the Children warned parents face huge leaps in their childcare costs over the summer.
The powerful Education and Work and Pensions Committees of MPs are so worried by the rising tide of poverty that they are launching a joint probe into how families will cope over the summer holidays.
We must start bringing the country back together. People are demanding change and want to see austerity come to an end.
The best way to ensure that is making sure people feel it in their pockets. From day one, the new PM can redesign Universal Credit so it truly works, loosening the grip of poverty and helping families build a better life.
Whoever runs the country next, can, and must do better. A new Prime Minister, whether Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt, has a golden opportunity to make Britain work for everyone – giving our lowest-paid families a boost would be the best place to start.