Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Chart of the Day
6 October 2021

The Universal Credit reduction is the biggest overnight benefit cut in history

The £1,040-a-year benefit cut is the biggest since the creation of the British welfare state.

By Nicu Calcea

The £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift (£1,040 a year), which was introduced to support people during the Covid-19 pandemic, officially ends today. The change represents the biggest overnight cut in benefits since the creation of the British welfare state, and one of the biggest total cuts, according to analysis by the Resolution Foundation. It will affect some six million families in the UK. 


The end of the uplift coincides with the end of restrictions on rental evictions in England and the end of the furlough scheme, which is likely to see more people forced to rely on Universal Credit.

Though the increase was a temporary measure, social security support has fallen behind economic growth in recent years. Had it grown in line with UK GDP since 1990, benefit payments would now be £40 a week higher. 

The imposition of the Universal Credit cut came as Boris Johnson declared in his Conservative Party conference speech that he had the “guts” to move the UK “towards a high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy”.

[See also: Tory members love Boris Johnson – but not Johnsonism]

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
How to navigate the modern cyber-threat landscape
Supporting customers through the cost of living crisis
Data on cloud will change the way you interact with the government