New figures show thousands of families rely on Universal Credit

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MORE than 2,400 children in East Renfrewshire now live in Universal Credit (UC) households, according to new figures.

Statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also show that in February three-quarters of families with children under UC in the region – more than 1,000 households – were single-parent families.

A total of 2,935 households received the Social Security payment.

The figures reveal that more than 2,400 children in 1,350 households in the region were receiving CUs in February, compared to around 2,300 children in 1,290 households in November last year.

Of these, 38% had a child aged four or under and 32% had a younger child aged five to 10, meaning that 70% of UC families in East Renfrewshire had a child of primary school age or younger.

Save the Children experts have expressed concern about the impact of the cost of living crisis on children in households receiving UC.

Inflation is expected to hit 10% in the fall, but the UC was only lifted 3.1% last month.

Save the Children said this reduction in real terms in family income is compounded by the £20-a-week reduction in UC payments last year.

Spokesman Dan Paskins added, “Universal Credit is the most powerful tool the government has to deal with the cost of living emergency.

“These statistics demonstrate that by raising social security to match inflation ministers could make an immediate difference for the children most affected by the crisis but, so far, they have failed to intervene and supporting families – and children are paying the price.

“Some parents are skipping their own meals to put their kids first, and at home it’s a constant battle trying to save electricity.”

The DWP said it helps ease the cost of living by helping people pay their energy bills and reducing fuel taxes.

A spokesperson added: ‘For the hardest hit, we are putting an extra £1,000 a year on average into the pockets of working families on Universal Credit, have raised the minimum wage by over £1,000 a year for full-time workers and our household support fund is there to help pay for basic necessities.

“We also know that people earn at least £6,000 in full-time work rather than benefits, so we are redoubling our efforts to help people find work and progress.”

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