James Forsyth
James Forsyth

The worrying surge in Universal Credit claims

The worrying surge in Universal Credit claims

Wednesday evening's figures for new claims for Universal Credit are sobering and a reminder of the economic - and moral - consequences of the shuttering of huge swathes of the economy. Despite the government offering to pay 80 per cent of the wages of furloughed workers, 850,000 more people than usual have applied for Universal Credit in the past fortnight. Right now, the shutdown is, I think, justified by the fact that it is the least worst way of preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed and the number of coronavirus deaths increasing to ever more horrific levels. But no one who backs the current policy should pretend that it doesn’t come at its own human cost. These figures also raise the question as to how high the number of people pushed onto benefits would be if this lockdown goes on for - say - four months.

James Forsyth

The worrying surge in Universal Credit claims

The worrying surge in Universal Credit claims

Wednesday evening's figures for new claims for Universal Credit are sobering and a reminder of the economic - and moral - consequences of the shuttering of huge swathes of the economy. Despite the government offering to pay 80 per cent of the wages of furloughed workers, 850,000 more people than usual have applied for Universal Credit in the past fortnight. Right now, the shutdown is, I think, justified by the fact that it is the least worst way of preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed and the number of coronavirus deaths increasing to ever more horrific levels. But no one who backs the current policy should pretend that it doesn’t come at its own human cost. These figures also raise the question as to how high the number of people pushed onto benefits would be if this lockdown goes on for - say - four months.

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