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A Treasury Minister has ruled out bringing back the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift – despite promises to help struggling Brits.

Simon Clarke made it clear that a return to the temporary pandemic boost to the benefit was off the cards, saying: “That is not going to return.”

The £1,040-a-year uplift was axed last October as the Treasury wound down its Covid support.

Instead, the Chancellor made a surprise 8p cut to the taper rate to make the benefit more generous in October’s Budget.

The taper rate is the amount of Universal Credit that is withdrawn for every pound claimants earn through work.

But there have been calls from Tory MPs and campaigners to boost Universal Credit to help struggling Brits with the impact of the cost of living crisis

Treasury Minister Simon Clarke ruled out a return to the Universal Credit uplift ( REUTERS)

Backbencher Jake Berry, who chairs the Northern Research Group, recently called on the Government to consider cutting VAT and increasing Universal Credit by £20.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith also said benefits should be brought into line with soaring inflation rates.

Mr Clarke said the Government had “never failed to act as the situation demands” during the past few years but ruled out the move.

“On Universal Credit we took decisive action back in December with change to the taper rate — the rate at which benefits are withdrawn as people’s earnings rise — and we cut that from 63p in the pound to 55p,”

“It is precisely the kind of authentic, Conservative solution to this question that we want to see.”

Pressed on the uplift, he said: “We were always explicitly clear that was a temporary response to the pandemic…. that is not going to return.

“The question now is how we best look at the next range of solutions to these challenges.”

It comes as pressure mounts on the Government to impose a windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas giants to help with the soaring cost of living.

Boris Johnson has so far resisted the idea but there are growing tensions at the top of Government over whether to press ahead with the levy.

Mr Clarke said companies needed to make it clear that their bumper profits would “bear fruit for the real economy in a way which supports jobs and the household energy supply”.

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He added: “If we do not see that investment then the Chancellor has been very clear that we cannot rule out a windfall tax.

“We obviously want to make sure that any action we take is targeted and effective but we are certainly not going to rule it out on principle in the face of what is such an extraordinary situation.”

The top Tory refused to set out a timeframe for when a decision would be made.

“We obviously recognise that we are in a situation which is fast developing and we want to make sure that we are supporting people ahead of what will likely be a challenging autumn and winter ahead,” he said.

“I’m not going to set a specific timetable for that, but the Chancellor is clear that we are looking at the situation with real urgency and intent. And it is against this backdrop that people can be reassured that the Government is on the case.

“We are not going to rush into action, but at the same time nor are we going to sit here and not provide the support that is needed given the severity of the situation.”

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