Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Shrinking value of Universal Credit payments revealed

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New figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveal the shrinking value of social security benefits in the UK, as a leading charity calls for urgent improvements to the widely condemned Universal Credit system.

Figures published today (Tuesday) show that the value of Universal Credit payments have reduced in real-terms since the new benefit was introduced in 2013.

A near empty food cupboard. Photo: Oxfam.

Data shows that the monthly payment for a single person in April 2019 was worth 88% of what it was in April 2013, according to the Retail Price Index (RPI).

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In April 2013 the Universal Credit rate was £246.81 for under 25s and £311.55 for those aged 25 or over. By April 2019 the Universal Credit rate was £251.77 for under 25s and £317.82 for those aged 25 or over.

However, when considering RPI, the real value of Universal Credit has dropped since April 2013 from £285.09 for under 25s and from £359.87 for those aged 25.

Commenting, Citizens Advice Scotland Social Justice spokesperson Mhoraig Green said: “Our network sees hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling to get by on social security benefits, and these new figures show one of the reasons why.

“The value of the payments they receive is simply not keeping up with inflation. So people are having to pay out ever more to buy food and pay their bills, but they are receiving less and less in terms of the support they need.”

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Photo by lydia_shiningbrightly

“Earlier in the month the government confirmed the end of the benefits freeze but this shows how much further this is to go.

“This is why we are calling on the Chancellor to make significant changes in his budget next month to fix the problems in the Universal Credit system.

“We have long called for an end to the five week wait between claim and payment, but we are also calling for a better system of Work Allowances and a reduction in the taper rate so that people who are in work but receiving UC can keep more of what they earn.

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“These are simple changes the Chancellor could make that would make a significant difference to working families across Scotland.”

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DWP faces judicial review after mentally ill man found ‘starved to death’

Errol Graham starved to death in June 2018 after the DWP stopped his benefits.