UNIVERSAL Credit claimants are getting 12 per cent less in benefits compared to seven years ago due to inflation.
The standard allowance for single claimants aged 25 or over is currently £317.82 a month, while back in 2013 it stood at a lower £311.55 a month.
Meanwhile the standard allowance for a couple aged 25 or over is £498.89 compared to £489.06 seven years ago. On the surface, payments have gone up over the period.
But once you factor in the impact of inflation, the spending power of that cash has actually gone down because the price of goods and services is rising at a faster pace.
So while you technically have more money in your pocket, it's not worth as much when it comes to what you buy with it.
This has been particularly pronounced over the past five years as the majority of working age benefits, including Universal Credit, have been frozen.
According to the government's latest figures, for single people aged 25 or older, when it comes to the consumer prices index (CPI) rate of inflation, you're getting seven per cent less than you did in 2013 at £317.82 now compared to £341.03 back then.
But there's even more of a gap when you look at the impact of the retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation.
Here, you're getting 88 per cent of what you did back in 2013, at £317.82 now compared to £359.87 back then.
It's exactly the same gap for couples of the same age, as well as for both single people and couples under 25.
Part of the problem is the majority of working age benefits have been frozen at 2015/16 levels, meaning they haven't risen for five years.
The government confirmed this month that the freeze will end in 2020 with benefits rising in line with CPI at 1.7 per cent from April.
The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work
UNIVERSAL Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment.
One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.
But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.
And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.
Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.
It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the government to:
- Get paid faster: The Government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
- Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
- Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.
Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.
Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email UniversalCredit@the-sun.co.uk to share your story.
But despite the planned increase, charity Citizens Advice says four in ten households struggling with debt still won't have enough to cover their bills – a shortfall it expects to continue to at least 2024.
Dame Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The reduction in the value of benefits has made it harder for people to cover day-to-day costs, such as food, heating and rent.
“While a step in the right direction, increasing income-related benefits like Universal Credit by inflation will not go far enough to help solve this problem."
The Resolution Foundation adds that families have lost around £580 on average as a result freeze of the benefits freeze.
And that the real value of basic out-of-work support in 2019/20 is – at £73 a week (£3,800 a year) – lower than it was in 1991/92.
A DWP spokesperson said: “This government’s careful management of the economy, delivering growth and record employment, means we can end the benefits freeze.
"From April, millions will see their payments rise in line with inflation.”
A BBC documentary revealed this week how one family has been left with just £17 a day to live on under Universal Credit.
Viewers also slammed the "middle class morons" behind Universal Credit as a sex assault victim, 20, was left relying on loans for £60 rent.
And here's how the leap year will affect your Universal Credit payments.
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