PCS is running a series of articles to counter some DWP myths about Universal Credit, this week we look at the claim that the benefit helps people to take charge of their personal finances more effectively
Fact: The social security system was originally conceived of as a collective and secure safety net for those falling on hard times but has been replaced by a system geared around individual responsibility.
The emphasis on the individual responsibility element of Universal Credit is of particular concern for those who are vulnerable or have financial literacy issues.
Research from UCL and the University of Cambridge found that 1 in 3 cannot work out the correct change from a shopping trip while 4 in 10 could not apply a simple discount.
Research from Policy in Practice has also shown that more families (40%) stand to lose out on UC – by an average of £59.45 a week – than those families who stand to gain (30%).
Professor John Jerrim of UCL said: “England is facing a crisis in terms of adults’ financial literacy skills. The reality is that many adults struggle to complete even quite basic financial tasks.”