Today we launched a new campaign, Guarantee our Essentials, in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), calling on the UK government to enshrine in law the amount people need to ensure the basic rate of Universal Credit at least covers the essentials.
Universal Credit should offer support to anyone in need of help. But there’s now a significant gap between living costs and the income Universal Credit provides, according to both our and JRF’s calculations. Rates are also not based on what people need and how much essentials such as food, household bills and travel costs, which is driving increasing levels of hardship and pushing people to food banks, with 90% of low-income households on Universal Credit going without.
“People that need our food bank just don’t have enough money to live on. Once they’ve paid their rent they have very little left for their utility bills and to pay for food. For instance, one person we’re supporting, after she’s paid her rent, then has £109 to spend in a month on food and utility bills – which is just not enough. That’s the main driver to our food bank.”
Linda, Abergele Foodbank Funding Manager
More and more people agree this is unacceptable
Our campaign launches as new research reveals 66% of people think the basic rate of Universal Credit is too low, as well as 67% saying they didn’t think they’d be able to afford the essentials if they were on Universal Credit.
With almost three quarters of the general public supportive of the Essentials Guarantee, and more and more people being left with no option but to use a food bank, it’s time for the UK government to guarantee our essentials.
We can’t always deal with what life throws at us on our own, so we need to have a system that supports us all to afford the essentials if we face hard times.
Find out more about the Essentials Guarantee, and how you can get involved