Value of social security benefits ‘worth 88% of pre-Universal Credit days’
Benefit claimants are getting less money in real terms than they were when Universal Credit was introduced in 2013, according to calculations made by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS).
Statistics published by the Department of Work & Pensions 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).
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.
Using the Retail Pricing Index DWP have calculated that 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 or over to current rates. This means that for single people Universal Credit is now worth 88% of what it was worth in April 2013.
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. 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 Universal Credit can keep more of what they earn.
“These are simple changes the Chancellor could make that would make a significant difference to working families across Scotland.”