Changes to universal credit kick in from Wednesday, but millions of people still face a difficult winter with no extra support to help them “live with dignity”.
In the autumn Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the taper rate for universal credit – the amount of benefits deducted based on how much a claimant earns through work – would move from 63p for every £1 earned to 55p.
The government is also changing the amount some people can earn before their universal credit entitlement is impacted. People whose ability to work is limited and those responsible for children can, from today, earn £500 more at their jobs before the taper rate kicks in.
From just £3 per week
It means some low-income households will get to keep more of the money they earn. But around 60 per cent of people on universal credit are not in work and are still reeling from the £20-per-week cut made in October.
Around 1.9 million households will benefit from the change, government figures show, and could be an average £1,000 better off next year.
But this leaves nearly two-thirds of universal credit claimants grappling with the cost of living crisis on historically low social security payments.