Life on Benefits: Universal Credit?

Richard Bacon investigates in tonight's report. Credit: ITV / Tonight

Brexit might be dominating the headlines - but arguably one of the biggest changes to the welfare state in a generation is the roll out of Universal Credit - which could affect over eight million people across the UK.

Tonight, Richard Bacon explores the impact of Universal Credit and meets some of those receiving the benefit.


Universal Credit was announced in 2010 by Tory politician Ian Duncan Smith as a way to combine many benefits and incentivise people into work, but critics are furious that it’s bringing hardship to many families.

The Trussell Trust are a nationwide network of food banks and say the use of food banks have increased by 52% in areas where Universal Credit has been introduced.


Universal Credit payments are made into one bank account per household, which means that for someone in a controlling or abusive relationship they might not have independent access to their finances.

‘Clare’ (not her real name) had her money controlled by her ex-partner. Describing what life was like she says:

‘Clare’ is in support of Universal Credit payments being made to individuals’ bank accounts even when its a joint claim:

Last month the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd announced she is committed to ensuring household payments go directly to the main carer.


The Department for Work and Pensions told Tonight:

Watch ‘Life on Benefits: Universal Credit?’ on ITV on Thursday 7th February from 7.30pm.