Universal Credit: Highest figure in Falkirk since October and 39 per cent are in work

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The number of people on Universal Credit in Falkirk is at its highest level since October, new figures show.

The figures underline growing concerns as the cost of living crisis impacts on families already in desperate situations.

According to provisional Department for Work and Pensions data from April 14, 13,409 people were receiving Universal Credit in Falkirk – the highest number since October.

And 39 per cent of them were in work.

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Numbers on Universal Credit in Falkirk are risingNumbers on Universal Credit in Falkirk are rising
Numbers on Universal Credit in Falkirk are rising

Figures from February show that 42% of households receiving Universal Credit in Falkirk are families with children, including 3,606 single-parent households.

Universal Credit varies from each person, but is currently worth around £335 a month for a single person over 25.

The system 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.

On Monday, the chief secretary to treasury, Simon Clarke, 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.

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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a charity tackling poverty in the UK, has criticised the Government for not increasing the benefit in line with inflation.

A senior policy advisor at the charity, Iain Porter, said: “With inflation nearing double digits, benefits were only uprated by 3.1%, 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.”

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 6 million people in March 2021.

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A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “Universal Credit provides a vital safety net to 5.6 million people and we want everyone to get the support to which they’re entitled.

“We recognise the pressures on the cost of living and we are doing what we can to help, including spending £22 billion across the next financial year to support people with energy bills and cut fuel duty."