Universal Credit: Highest figure in Fife since December and 37% are in work

The number of people on Universal Credit in Fife is at its highest level since December, 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, 34,130 people were receiving Universal Credit in Fife – the highest number since December.

And 37% of them were in work.

Numbers on Universal Credit in Fife are rising

Figures from February show that 43% of households receiving Universal Credit in the region are families with children, including 9,155 single-parent households.

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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 .Figures from February show that 43% of households receiving Universal Credit in Fife are families with children, including 9,155 single-parent households.

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.”

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.”They added: “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."