Universal Credit could be scrapped in favour of a monthly benefit payment worth £654

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The Commission for Social Security is lobbying the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to replace Universal Credit with a Guaranteed Decent Income. This new payment would be set at half of the minimum wage to ensure British citizens get a sufficient amount of support from the UK’s social security system. Around 30 million Britons would be able to access this benefit support, according to the Commission.

If the Guaranteed Decent Income were to be introduced, claimants could be in receipt of £654 a month.

Following the Government’s decision to remove the £20 uplift to Universal Credit last year, many experts have cited the benefit payment as being insufficient in tackling the issues affecting the country, notably the rise in the cost of living.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Commission secretary Michael Orton outlined why the Guaranteed Decent Income is an essential replacement for Universal Credit coming out of the pandemic.

Mr Orton explained: “We saw during Covid that things aren’t working. You’ve got fuel poverty and food poverty on the rise. There is a sense of things just not being right.

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“Universal Credit started as a big simplification but lots of different things have gotten loaded into Universal Credit.

“The first thing the Guarantee Basic Income would do would be to streamline things massively.

“As a British citizen, it means that whatever happens to you in life you’d have that security behind you.”

“For example: it might be that you’re in a zero hours contract job, so some weeks you’re fine and some weeks you’re not.

“But whatever’s going on in your life, rather than losing your job and getting pulled into poverty, you’d be guaranteed that level of money which will be set at half of the minimum wage.

“As a British citizen, it means that whatever happens to you in life you’d have that security behind you.

Furthermore, the benefits expert shared how the Commission came together and why the group’s recently published report into Universal Credit is based on lived experience.

Mr Orton added: “There’s a long history of just not listening to people who’ve actually claimed benefits.

“There’s an argument that a lot of problems with Universal Credit would have been avoided if they had just asked people to actually see how things work in practice.

“This project (the Commission) comes from a mix of people, some who are currently in receipt of benefits and some who have been in the past.

“An example of an individual who took part in the Commission is someone who had an industrial injury and could not work after it.

“We’ve got people who have lifelong disabilities and impairments which mean they can work for a while but their health flares up and they can’t work.”

According to the Commission for Social Security, the proposal for Guaranteed Decent Income is valid at it comes from the DWP claimants who know how “the system works”.

“A whole range of people with different experiences but what they have in common is they have all had to go through the process of applying for social security,” Mr Orton shared.

“They’ve seen how the system works and seen behind the curtain.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Universal Credit is providing vital support to millions and playing a crucial role as we support people into work.

“The changes to the taper rate and work allowance represent an effective tax cut of £2.2bn putting an average of £1,000 a year back into people’s pockets.

“We are also supporting hundreds of thousands of people every year with long term health conditions and have made extra financial support available to those with disabilities, or those who care for them, through Personal Independence Payments.”

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