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MPs back Labour motion to keep £20 Universal Credit increase after majority of Tory MPs abstain

Westminster - Image credit: PA Images

MPs back Labour motion to keep £20 Universal Credit increase after majority of Tory MPs abstain

MPs have voted for the £20 a week increase to Universal Credit payments to be continued.

A majority of Tories abstained on Labour’s non-binding motion, meaning it passed by 278 votes to 0.

The uplift to the benefit, which was introduced last year to help households cope with the effects of the pandemic, is due to end on 31 March.

Conservative MPs were told not to vote in the debate as a decision would be made on the issue by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, “in due course”.

But six Tory MPs – Peter Aldous, Stephen Crabb, Robert Halfon, Jason McCartney, Anne Marie Morris and Matthew Offord – disobeyed party orders to back the motion. 

Former Cabinet minister Stephen Crabb spoke out in the debate: “The question for us right now is whether at the end of March this year, just 10 weeks away, it's the right time to begin unwinding this support – specifically to remove the extra support for Universal Credit claimants – and I don't believe it is the right moment.”

The motion does not compel the UK Government to change its policy, but will add to calls from charities and campaigners to keep the uplift, worth £1,040 a year, in place.

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