Thousands of East Yorkshire households still on legacy benefits, new figures show

Thousands of households remain on legacy benefits in East Yorkshire ahead of the Government’s target to complete the Universal Credit rollout by 2024, new figures show.

By Andrew Dowdeswell (Data reporter)
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 9:56 am
Around 3,533 households remained on the old system in February, figures from the House of Commons library show. Photo: PA Images
Around 3,533 households remained on the old system in February, figures from the House of Commons library show. Photo: PA Images

Debt charity StepChange said many claimants are being pushed into hardship by having to wait more than a month for their first Universal Credit payment after migrating from older benefits.

And measures recently announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help with the cost-of-living crisis have been criticised for not going far enough to help low-income households.

In East Yorkshire, 6,149 households were claiming Universal Credit in February after being transferred from legacy benefits, while an estimated 3,533 remained on the old system, according to figures from the House of Commons library.

This means around 36% of households in the parliamentary constituency are still on older benefits, such as Employment Allowance, Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance, which are set to be fully replaced in two years’ time.

StepChange said moving from legacy benefits to Universal Credit – which rolls six means-tested benefit payments into one monthly deposit – is challenging because new claimants must wait five weeks for their first instalment, meaning some people need a budgeting advance, while others can be pushed into debt.

Households still on legacy benefits also missed out on the £20 uplift to Universal Credit introduced during the coronavirus pandemic.