Britons want to keep £20 Universal Credit uplift, at least for now

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
October 01, 2021, 12:31 PM UTC

Around half of people see the policy as a success

The temporary £20-a-week boost to Universal Credit, first introduced in March 2020 to help families cope with the pandemic, is due to come to an end on the 6th October. Footballer Marcus Rashford, who successfully lobbied the government to continue free school meals last year, has now joined other pressure groups to call on Number 10 to rethink the cut.

New YouGov research for The Times reveals that most Britons either want to see the boost left in place permanently (37%) or at least kept temporarily past the October deadline (18%). Approaching three in ten people (28%) think the additional £20-a-week should be cut as planned.

Half of 2019 Conservative voters (50%) agree with the government plans to cut the boost in October, however some 35% think it should continue – including 17% who think it should be made permanent.

Labour voters are very much in favour of permanently keeping the boost to Universal Credit (63%) and a further 16% think it should be extended, albeit temporarily. Only one in ten (10%) Labour voters think the boost should come to end next week.

The Universal Credit boost is seen as one of the successful pandemic policies

Further to broadly thinking it should be kept on, approaching half (49%) of Britons see the boost to Universal Credit as being a successful policy. Only 7% think it has been a failure, while another 27% think it has neither succeeded nor failed. This means the Universal Credit boost is seen as more of a success than many other policies, including various lockdowns, the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme, and the test and trace app.

The only policies we polled about that are seen as more successful are the furlough scheme (59%) and the vaccine rollout (83%).

Conservatives, despite being in favour of bringing it to an end, are about as likely as their Labour peers to think the policy has been a failure (8% versus 5%). Some 46% of Conservatives see the policy as a success, as do 57% of Labour voters.

See full results here