LGA statement on IFS report on end to universal credit increase

“The economic impacts of the pandemic are likely to be long-lasting and far-reaching. Many households could be economically vulnerable for some time to come and many are now relying on the benefits system to help them make ends meet."


man in a dimly lit room looking stressed

Responding to the Institute for Fiscal Studies report warning about the impact of scrapping the £20 a week increase in Universal Credit, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board, said:

“The economic impacts of the pandemic are likely to be long-lasting and far-reaching. Many households could be economically vulnerable for some time to come and many are now relying on the benefits system to help them make ends meet.

“We would urge the Government to keep in place measures that protect those most at risk of financial hardship because of the virus. The mainstream benefits system will need to provide the first line of support so that councils and local partners can concentrate their limited resources on helping those who need tailored and additional help.

“There has been an increase of more than two million in Universal Credit claimants, which has also translated into higher demands on council tax support. It is vital that the Government also uses the Spending Review to put local welfare funding on a long-term, sustainable footing so councils can provide additional preventative support to all who need it.”

Notes to editors

  1. Councils in England face a funding gap of more than £5 billion by 2024 to maintain services at current levels - this figure could double amid the huge economic and societal uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The LGA’s detailed submission to the Comprehensive Spending Review sets out how £10 billion is needed to not only plug this gap but meet growing demand pressures and improve services for communities.