The United Kingdom trade unions are calling on the government to boost its assistance for low-income citizens after the latest research indicated that another 1.3 million workers applied for state support since the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) began.
A new study cited by the Guardian on Monday revealed that additional 1.3 million claims for universal credit, monthly government payment for low-wage workers or unemployed.
Those that were made unemployed since the COVID-19 outbreak, with the total amount of low-income citizens reaching at least 2.3 million.
According to reports, such a dramatic increase in demand for universal credit was spurred by a hike in energy prices, which have grown on average from 700 to 2,000 pounds (945 dollars to 2,700 dollars), and a high inflation rate across various economic sectors.
The Guardian said that food, rent, and other prices have increased drastically at the fastest rate in 30 years.
The UK trade unions stressed that 40 per cent of all claimants are employed citizens, whose wages appear to be insufficient for ensuring their needs and adjusting to rising prices.
Therefore, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), calls on the government to urgently increase the universal credit payments up to 80 per cent of the minimum wage, otherwise millions more working people may find themselves pushed below the poverty line.
“Universal credit urgently needs boosting and we need further action to reduce fuel costs for those battling to make ends meet.
“The best way to give working families long-term financial security is to get pay rising across the economy,’’ TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
She added that the government must do more to “struggling families get through the tough times ahead,’’ while calling the support package for households announced last week inadequate.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak revealed on Thursday the measures aimed at helping UK citizens to deal with soaring energy prices.
According to the plan, consumers will receive an upfront rebate of 200 pounds on their electricity bills, to be repaid in instalments over five years.
A rebate of 150 pounds on the council tax in April, while local authorities would obtain 150 million pounds from the discretionary fund to provide additional subsidies.