LONDON– British finance minister Rishi Sunak has proposed giving a one-off 500 pound ($679) grant to receivers of the nation’s main unemployment and wage support benefit rather of extending a momentary increase on the well-being payments, The Times reported on Saturday.

British welfare benefits for working-age adults are low compared with in other places in Europe, and the federal government temporarily increased them by 20 pounds per week last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic as job openings dried up.

The weekly increase to Universal Credit, which is paid to nearly six million working-age homes impacted by joblessness or low income, costs about 6 billion pounds a year and is because of end at the end of March.

Sunak will reveal future strategies at a yearly spending plan on March 3, where he will seek to check a deficit spending on track to strike 400 billion pounds, its highest as a share of the economy since World War Two.

The Times, without mentioning sources, stated Sunak had proposed the one-off 500 pound grant to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and well-being minister Therese Coffey on Friday, saying it would cost about half as much as extending the weekly increase.

Separately, the Financial Times reported that Sunak would choose to focus costs on job assistance procedures, and the Daily Telegraph stated Sunak’s allies thought he would be “really reluctant” to extend the increase to Universal Credit.

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