Universal Credit worth less than in 2013, says CAS
Shocking new analysis from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) shows that Universal Credit will fall below its 2013 value in real terms if plans to end the £20 uplift are not reversed.
The £20-per-week uplift to Universal Credit was introduced by the UK Government last spring in recognition that people needed extra help during the pandemic. The government now plans to cut the uplift from April onwards.
The cut would see Universal Credit worth less this year in real terms than it was when introduced in 2013, because the benefit has not kept pace with inflation, ultimately being worth 11.5 per cent less in 2021.
For some claimants, the monthly standard allowance will fall by as much as 25%.
Publishing the figures today, CAS is urging Chancellor Rishi Sunak to keep the £20 uplift in his Budget on March 3.
Nina Ballantyne, CAS spokesperson, said: “More people than ever are claiming Universal Credit. Currently, 480,000 people in Scotland claim it, but many of them have families to support so the numbers of people who rely on it is very significant and includes children.
“The pandemic has caused redundancy and reduced hours, and this looks set to continue for much of the year. Now is the time to strengthen the safety net for these families, not cut it.
“Universal Credit has always failed to keep up with the cost of living, and it makes no sense to make cuts during a pandemic. Without proper support, we’ll see increases in poverty and foodbank use, and a strain on other public services like the NHS.”
She added: “The £20 uplift has been an essential boost to struggling families. The reasons it was introduced still exist, so there is no logical case for removing it. Taking it away now would be a real blow to our most vulnerable people, just when they need the most help.
“The government still has the opportunity to make the uplift permanent in the Budget. This would give people some peace of mind, and we once again urge the Chancellor to make this commitment.”