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£10 Christmas bonus won’t go far warns national charity

  • 19/12/2019

A £10 tax free DWP ‘Christmas Bonus’ that was introduced in 1972 is now worth the equivalent of 76p in today’s money as it has never been increased, says national poverty charity, Turn2us.

The bonus, which should be worth £129.61 if it had kept up with inflation, is awarded to people who receive benefits. It could once buy a family their Christmas dinner, with enough left over to help with gifts. Today it wouldn’t even stretch to the full price of a small turkey.

Additionally, under Universal Credit, the bonus is to be scrapped and there are no plans to replace it. This will affect up to seven million people by the time the new benefit is fully rolled out.

Turn2us provides practical help and information to people struggling financially and is urging the DWP to keep the bonus and raise it in line with inflation, to provide people with the support so desperately needed at this time of the year.

Sara Willcocks, Head of Communications at Turn2us, says:

“In 1972 £10 could go a long way and would have been enough to help see a family through the festive period. Today it’s barely enough to buy a joint of meat – let alone a full Christmas dinner. 

“We urge the Government to not just keep the Christmas bonus but to increase it, at least in line with the rate of inflation, and to remember the reasons why it was established in the first place. 

“This would go a small way to giving people the helping hand they need at what is one of the most difficult times of year for people struggling financially.”

Things £10 could have bought you in 1972:

  • 100 loaves of bread
  • A new fridge
  • 125 cans of tomato soup
  • A second hand car
  • A brand new typewriter
  • 71 pints of beer

Turn2us is a national anti-poverty charity that provides help via its benefits calculator, helpline and grants search tool. Over the last year, more than 11 million people visited its website, with over two million people completing a benefits calculation.

For those struggling financially at this time of year, Turn2us has the following advice:

  • Use the Turn2us Grants Search to find out what help you may be eligible for. While most charitable funds do not provide specific grants to help meet the costs of Christmas, some may consider applications of this nature, depending on circumstances and background. 
  • The Benefits Calculator allows you to check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. While this is not directly focused towards Christmas support, they may help to relieve the financial burden experienced at Christmas.
  • Your local Citizens Advice Bureau should also be able to provide information, advice and signposting to services in your local area that may be able to help this Christmas.
  • The Salvation Army holds a Christmas present appeal every year, which provides gifts to children and young people. Contact your local Salvation Army to ask how they distribute gifts in your area.
  • Crisis provides support at Christmas by offering somewhere safe to spend Christmas, and Christmas meals and activities.
  • Wood Street Mission can help with gifts for children living in Manchester and Salford. You need to be referred to Wood Street Mission by a professional who knows your family’s circumstances.

People can also call the Turn2us helpline on 0808 802 2000 for advice on which benefits or charitable grants they may be entitled to.