THE UK Government must maintain the increase to Universal Credit, according to a new report.

The All-Party Parliament Group on Poverty, chaired by SNP MP Neil Gray, has published a report today stressing the need to keep the £20 per week increase for those in poverty.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is yet to confirm what he plans to do with the temporary rise in the benefit, which was brought in due to pandemic, despite growing pressure from campaigners and his opposition to keep it on.

The cross-party group of MPs say it is vital that Mr Sunak retain the £20 increase, and extend it to those on legacy benefits "to avoid a two-tier social security system.”

Their report calls for a suspension of the benefit cap for the duration of the pandemic, which would enable all low-income households to benefit from the £20 uplift.

It also states that not maintaining the uplift could " push those just about managing into debt" and argues that as 20 per cent of those reciving the increase currently are from a BAME background, removing it could " reverse the progress made in tackling systematic overrepresentation of BAME households in poverty over the last decade."

Mr Gray, MP for Airdrie & Shotts said: “This is a significant intervention from a cross-party group of MPs, including Tory MPs, which warns that slashing social security payments in the middle of an economic crisis and a global pandemic could push more people into poverty at the worst possible time.

"There must be a U-turn on this, to avoid worsening poverty and inequality across the country during this crisis - and the Chancellor must commit to this immediately so that people are given certainty in the coming months. "