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Insights on Universal Credit claimants, workers and income

  • 28/04/2020

National poverty charity Turn2us has surveyed 2,014 working age adults around the UK to better understand their financial situation and concerns. The research shows how:

  • An additional 3.46 million are expected to make a claim for Universal Credit as 15% of working age adults are going to rely on the welfare state through this pandemic
  • The average UK worker is expecting £278 per month less income than they would normally receive
  • One in eight people are struggling to afford food and basic bills while one in twelve can’t afford cleaning supplies

Here’s  a summary of the themes that came through from the survey:

Universal Credit

  • 15% of respondents planned to make a new Universal Credit claim as a result of coronavirus, while among 18-24 year olds, that figure jumped to 28% of respondents
  • This equals around 3.46 million new UC claims as a result of the coronavirus

Financial concerns

  • Around one in every eight people (13%) still cannot afford food, heating or electricity
  • One in eleven (9%) cannot afford essential toiletries
  • One in twelve (8%) cannot afford cleaning supplies
  • The average UK working age adult will receive 22% less in income this month compared to last month; this equates to £278

Zero-hour contract workers

  • People on zero-hour contracts are expecting to see a £193 drop in income per month
  • To put this into perspective, a person on a zero hour contract is now expected to live on around £614 per month.
  • People on zero hours contracts are being hit the hardest by coronavirus, with more than three out of four people (78%) having seen a drop in income or change to employment; one in four of whom are not receiving any pay because their work has closed 

Self-employed workers

  • Self-employed workers are expecting to see the largest drop-in take-home income each month – this works out as £386
  • Self-employed workers are the second most affected group, with more than half (57%) already having had their employment affected (income and/or hours reduced) as a result of the coronavirus


  • Employed workers are expecting to see a drop in income of £219 per month
  • More than one in two (53%) employed people have reported changes to income or employment status
  • Based on anticipated future earnings, in the long-term, people working in retail, hospitality, creative arts and leisure and tourism are the worst affected by the pandemic