Budget 2021: ‘Chancellor must set out plans to tackle pandemic poverty’

The Salvation Army is urging the Government to set out a clear plan to help people trapped in poverty by the pandemic.

The media have trailed reports that the Government is planning extend the

£20 uplift for another six months. While this is welcome, the church and charity is warning that this does not address the longer-term financial impact on many struggling families and individuals.

The Salvation Army is also calling for the Government to ensure those who receive alternative benefits to Universal Credit, known as “legacy benefits”, are also eligible for the £20 boost.

Dean Pallant, The Salvation Army’s Secretary for Communications, said:

“While a six-month extension of the uplift will provide welcome relief to people facing immediate financial pressures, it is too short a time-period to provide any long-term security, when we are still battling the pandemic as a nation.

“Businesses have been forced to close their doors due to lockdowns, and the ending of the furlough scheme and other Government support will only see these financial pressures on people increase.

“Throughout the pandemic, The Salvation Army has continued to help the most vulnerable people in our communities, with food banks, debt advice and employment services.

“With the unemployment rate at its highest level for five years1, we see first-hand, that the way we help the most vulnerable in our communities right now, will have repercussions for years to come.”

In addition to this, The Salvation Army, is calling for Universal Credit loans (Advance Payments) to be included in the Government’s Debt Respite Scheme when it launches in May. The proposal put forward the ask to allow people to repay debt rather than automatically deducting money which many will struggle to pay.

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