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10 November, 2020 Open access

Number of people on universal credit has increased by more than 90 per cent since beginning of coronavirus pandemic

New statistics also show that claims made during pandemic account for more than a third of total claims for universal credit since its introduction

The number of people on universal credit has increased by more than 90 per cent since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to new DWP statistics.

In Universal Credit Statistics: 29 April 2013 to 8 October 2020, published today, the DWP confirms that the number of people on universal credit was 5.7 million on 8 October 2020 (up 2 per cent on 10 September 2020), and that there has been a 90 per cent (2.7 million) increase in the number of people on the benefit from 3 million on 12 March 2020, the last count date before the pandemic.

In addition the DWP says that, since 13 March 2020, there have been 3.7 million claims made for universal credit, representing more than one-third (35 per cent) of the 10.6 million claims made since its introduction in April 2013.

However, the DWP adds that -

'Following the initial surge in claims made to universal credit, the number of claims made gradually reduced week-on-week as further support measures were announced and the initial uncertainty of the effect of the lockdown on household incomes became clearer. Claims made returned to pre-pandemic levels around the end of June 2020, since when they have remained at around 55,000 to 65,000 claims a week.'

The DWP also highlights that -

Elsewhere, the statistics show that -

For more information, see Universal Credit Statistics: 29 April 2013 to 8 October 2020 from gov.uk