Published On: Mon, Oct 2nd, 2023

Universal Credit slammed by mother struggling to feed kids – ‘it’s completely out of sync’ | Personal Finance | Finance

One claimant is struggling to feed her family, as her Universal Credit payment does not compare to the rising prices caused by inflation and the cost of living crisis.

The UK’s threadbare social security system is on track to reach its lowest level since records began, according to a new report by IPPR.

Despite inflation increasing benefit pay, the figures do not cover the rise in the cost of living.

In 1971, out-of-work benefits were worth 20.1 percent of a man’s weekly median pay. However now it’s on track to be worth just 11.2 percent by 2030.

Faith Angwet, a Universal Credit claimant involved with the Changing Realities project, said:  “Universal Credit rates are getting more and more insufficient as the cost of living has hit low income households like mine with less income, to feed their household and children with. 

“The importance of having an independent commission to set benefit rates could not be any more vital to be put into action no later than this present moment.” 

Low benefits make it harder for people to find work, get more hours or better work, and ultimately get off benefits.

The data shows that the cognitive impact of poverty, alongside the costs of finding and starting work, including childcare costs, make entering employment much harder. 

Melanie Wilkes, associate director for work and the welfare state at IPPR, said: “Universal Credit could offer a crucial lifeline to households who are struggling on low incomes.

“But it is completely out of sync with the costs families are facing, and, as a result, is failing to protect many from poverty.  

“We need politicians to move from debates about social security grounded in outdated stereotypes and misperceptions, towards a shared long-term ambition for the purpose and shape of our social security system.”  

The report argues that a fundamental issue with Universal Credit is that payment levels are not grounded in living costs.

A new analysis from IPPR shows the average gap between benefit payments and the actual cost of covering the basics is £35 a week for a single person, rising to £84 for someone with added typical housing shortfall and potential deductions. 

IPPR is calling for politicians to come together and establish a shared goal for the future role and purpose of social security.

Benefits should provide enough to live on but they have never actually been calculated in relation to the costs people face day to day.

A researcher has stated this has only been made worse by policies like the benefits cap, the two-child limit and a sharp reduction in support with housing. 

Henry Parkes, principal research fellow at IPPR, said: “It’s time to rethink the role of our social security system. At the moment, it’s not providing enough for families to survive, and that is bringing further costs to us as a society and economy.” has contacted the DWP for comment.

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