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Real terms cut to Universal Credit now set to hit 3.6 million children, new stats show  

LONDON, 15 February - New Department for Work and Pensions statistics published today (Tuesday) show that 3.6 million children from nearly 2 million families are now on Universal Credit and facing a substantial real terms cut to their incomes, Save the Children has warned

In April, Universal Credit payments are set to increase by 3.1% but by then inflation is projected to be over 7%.This means that low-income families, many of whom are already struggling with rising costs and last year’s £20 cut to Universal Credit, will be less able to afford food, fuel, clothing, and other essentials.   

At the same time, wages are failing to keep up with rising inflation, meaning family incomes will fall even further behind.  

The Department for Work and Pensions quarterly Universal Credit statistics show that:  

·         Over 1.9 million households with children were receiving UC as of November 2021.   

·         Of these, 45% had a child aged 0-4 (875,000 families) and 31% had a youngest child aged 5-10 – meaning that, in total, 76% of families with children on UC had a child of primary school age or younger.   

·         72% of families with children on Universal Credit – more than 1.4 million households – are single-parent families. 

Save the Children is very concerned about how this cut is going to affect these children, particularly those in single-parent families, and has already been seeing the impact of rising prices and energy bills on families they work with.  

Commenting on the release, Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact at Save the Children, said:   

“Families receiving Universal Credit are at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis and the UK government must do more to support them.  

“Parents we work with are already stretched to the limit. They’re skipping meals, turning off the heating when it’s cold and taking on debt just to keep their families afloat. For millions of children, a further income cut will mean going to bed hungry, missing out on after-school clubs and activities and struggling to keep up in school.  

“Investing in Universal Credit is the best way to protect families weathering this current storm, and keep their children warm, fed and looked after. That’s why we’re calling on the UK government to increase the rate of Universal Credit and other benefits by at least 6%, in line with current levels of inflation.   


Notes to Editors:   

The DWP’s Universal Credit statistics are available on the DWP’s Stat-Xplore website. The figures show the numbers of households in Great Britain receiving Universal Credit in November 2021.  

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