Universal credit claimaints on the rise in Wigan
The number of people on Universal Credit in Wigan is at its highest level since September, new figures show.
Universal Credit is a monthly payment available to those on low incomes and those out of work.
The exact amount varies on your circumstances, but it is currently worth around £335 a month for a single person over 25.
Universal Credit has come under scrutiny in recent months, as the rising cost of basic household goods and energy has driven some to call for the rate to be increased, or for it to be made more widely accessible.
The chief secretary to treasury, Simon Clarke, recently ruled out reinstating the £20-a-week uplift to the benefit, which was temporarily introduced during the pandemic – a policy recently called for by other Conservative MPs.
And last month, work and pensions minister Therese Coffee announced a £600m plan to clamp down on benefit fraud, including plans to give new powers to DWP officers which would allow them to make arrests and seize evidence.
Figures from February show that 47 per cent of households receiving Universal Credit in Wigan are families with children, including 8,841 single-parent households.
A senior policy advisor at the charity, Iain Porter, said: “With inflation nearing double digits, benefits were only uprated by 3.1 per cent, their lowest in real terms in 40 years.”
“We already know of parents skipping meals so their children can eat, families using a single lightbulb to limit electricity use, and cutting back on showers to save water.”
According to the latest figures, from March, 39 per cent of people on Universal Credit in Wigan were in employment.
Across Great Britain there were 5.6 million people receiving Universal Credit as of April 14, up 35,000 from January 13, but down from a peak of six million people in March 2021.