Last month, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) released a report estimating that 140 constituencies in England will see 25% of households negatively impacted by the proposed reduction in Universal Credit, with 21% of working-age families experiencing a £1,040-per year reduction in income, as of 6 October 2021.
Registry Trust maintains the Register of Judgments, Order and Fines for the UK & Ireland and has first-hand access to live data regarding financial vulnerability across these areas. Our data provides further insight into which areas are already vulnerable, therefore where the planned £20-per-week uplift reduction is likely to impact families most.
The map below shows the proportion of families in each parliamentary constituency who JRF expect to be affected by the reduction in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit in October 2021. The map shows no specific geographical pattern to the parliamentary constituencies which currently have the highest rate of Universal Credit / Working Tax Credit recipients, therefore likely to be impacted the greatest by the cut. This highlights the national-level scale of potential loss of income, and therefore potential indebtedness. It will be interesting to see if Registry Trust data shows a rise in County Court Judgments (CCJs) in these areas that are expected to be hit hardest.
My previous Registry Trust blog showed areas with higher rates of Universal Credit recipients typically had higher rates of consumer CCJs. The £1,040-per-year reduction in income might plummet Universal Credit users into further unpayable debts, which we expect to see reflected in the number of CCJs.
Registry Trust also previously highlighted the relationship between levels of debt (CCJs), and the availability of debt advice across the UK. Our research suggests that as the availability of debt advice in an area increases, the number of CCJs decreases. Therefore, with cases of indebtedness expected to increase after the 6 October cut, one was to curtail this surge could be to increase the availability of debt advice, particularly in parliamentary constituencies with already high rates of Universal Credit / Working Tax Credit users (see map above).
If the cut to Universal Credit does go ahead, I will be monitoring how this reduced income across England’s constituencies will impact judgments; will the CCJ rate increase further in areas with already high judgment density? Watch this space…
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