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Extensions to protection measures will only delay the impact of the pandemic

Budget announcement

Yesterday’s budget announcement included a six-month extension to the £20 universal credit uplift. This protection measure has kept people who were already living in poverty from facing greater hardship.

For many of the people we support, it has removed the need to make impossible decisions between putting food on the table and staying warm.

The support announced for first time buyers will help a lucky few onto the housing ladder but in Kent, where rent is higher than the national average, many households will still be struggling just to cover basic expenses.

The furlough scheme has also been extended. But 700,000 people have already lost their jobs because of Covid and unemployment is expected to peak when the scheme ends in September.

The short-term measures put in place by the government will only delay the impact of the pandemic on our most disadvantaged communities. In six months’ time, many thousands more people on low incomes and those who are already living in poverty will be facing a daily battle just to survive.

The government needs to recognise that the level of welfare support they provided was woefully inadequate even before the pandemic. It must learn the lessons of this crisis and put long-term financial support in place for the people who need it most.

We support people in Kent with money matters and benefits. If you or someone you know if struggling financially because of Covid, our website has resources that can help.