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LONDON 15 NOV 2022 – The number of children living in households receiving Universal Credit is 4 million, according to new statistics published by the Department for Work and Pensions today (Tuesday).

The department’s quarterly Universal Credit statistics show there has been a rise of 250,000 children in households receiving Universal Credit since February 2022.   This rise comes with a looming recession and massive financial pressures faced by parents due to the cost-of-living crisis.  

The statistics released today by the Department for Work and Pensions show that:

·        4 million children (4,030,796) in over 2.1 million households (2,138,227) with children were receiving Universal Credit as of August 2022. This has risen slightly from the last figures for May 2022 3.9 million children (3,906,325) in 2.1 million households (2,078,122). In February 2022, there were 3.8 million (3,779,122)    children in 2 million households.

·        73% of families with children on UC – more than 1.5 million households – are single parent families.  

Ahead of the Autumn statement on Thursday, Save the Children is calling for immediate action to help those on the lowest incomes suffering most from the impacts of the rising cost of living. An essential first step would be increasing benefits in line with inflation at the Budget on Thursday.

Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact at Save the Children UK, said: "It's shameful that these statistics have crept up again and now hit a staggering 4 million. Children are facing the toughest economic climate in decades and for those in families on Universal Credit, the crisis and potential recession are the latest in over a decade of real term cuts to social security*.  

"Growing up in a family receiving Universal Credit in 2022 is desperate, through no fault of the child or their parents. Money just isn't stretching as far as it once was, with soaring food and energy bills putting intolerable stress on parents doing their best to put meals on the table, pay for hot water, heating and light. 

"We are now deeply concerned about the risk to children’s health and wellbeing this winter, and the impacts of this crisis are likely to be felt throughout a child’s life. If a child is too cold to sleep at night because the heating costs too much to put on, it’s going to be hard for them to concentrate in school and reach their full potential.

"Universal Credit could be part of the solution to improve lives if the UK government commits to raising benefits in line with inflation on Thursday at the Budget. Rishi Sunak previously promised this to families in May 2022 and parents have faced unacceptable uncertainty waiting for a key lifeline.  

"To ensure children are better protected from the current crisis, the Treasury should also increase the child element of Universal Credit by £10 per child per week as part of a 'children's cost of living package'."




·        Figures on Universal Credit cover England, Scotland and Wales and are available on StatXplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/jsf/dataCatalogueExplorer.xhtml  

·        *The last decade has seen real term cuts to social security. According to JRF analysis, 8 out of the last 10 benefits upratings have been below the rate of inflation1. Benefits were limited to a rise of 1% per year from 2013 and then frozen between 2016-2020.