Insights on Universal Credit claimants, workers and income



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