CALLS have been made for the government to extend their £20 uplift for Universal Credit payments.

The top-up is due to end in March ahead of next month's budget, but this could cause turmoil for some families if it is not continued.

A study released this week by the Fabian Society claims that 760,000 people will be plunged into poverty if the scheme is not extended beyond March.

The top-up payment was introduced at the start of the pandemic and is currently in place until the end of March.

It is worth more than £1,000 a year to around the six million families who are eligible for Universal Credit.

Christine McKinlay, chief officer at Barrow Citizens Advice, believes an extension would stop families facing financial adversity.

She said: "We are urging the government to extend the uplift and to be maintained because all the evidence that without that uplift more people are pushed into unmanageable situations.

"In Barrow it has made the difference between people being able to keep their housing and put food on the table, pay for their fuel bills and not needing charitable support."

Barrow MP Simon Fell, has echoed Chrstine's calls.

He said: “I argued in the House of Commons for the uplift to be maintained and have been lobbying Ministers to retain it since. I have no doubt at all that the Universal Credit uplift has helped many local families through this pandemic, and believe that it should continue now, especially as we reach the end of furlough.”

A March end to the uplift would be 'unthinkable,' says South Lakes MP Tim Farron.

He commented: “The uplift has been a vital lifeline for local people, safeguarding their quality of life and helping to prevent permanent economic scarring.

“It is, therefore, vital that we keep the lifeline of the uplift, as well as extend the uplift to legacy benefits.

“While the rollout of vaccines means that the end of this crisis is now in sight, local families still face months of real hardship. Cutting support right now to those most in need would be absolutely unthinkable.”