YMCA England & Wales is asking the Government to maintain the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit payments to ensure young people striving for independent living are able to do so while affording the cost of living, and without an increased risk of falling into debt.
Over a third of Universal Credit claimants aged between 16 and 24 are employed. Young people on low incomes are vulnerable to a sharp fall in disposable income with the removal of the £20 uplift. Once the uplift is removed, many young people on UC can expect to be pushed closer to the breadline or further into arrears.
Across England and Wales, young people are not given adequate support to help set up their lives. The removal of the Universal Credit uplift will stop disadvantaged young people from affording to travel to job interviews, any upfront payments for work clothing or have a good quality of life at the start of their careers.
Young people leaving supported housing and into independent living are do so with a precariousness that many of those moving out of the family home do not have. They do not have the same back-up or support, and are trying to forge their new start with limited money in the bank. As they are trying to establish themselves, they do so with a host of financial challenges, from the budgeting of limited money to the immediate ending or tapering of universal credit payments once starting work.
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