HOW much difference does £20 per week make?

Kathryn Samson of STV News asked the Prime Minister about this earlier this week in relation to the removal of the Universal Credit uplift, asking him: “What would that mean to you though? A cocktail at conference? A taxi?”

For those entitled to the benefit, it means a lot more.

As a result of the Government’s decision to press on with the removal of the uplift, which was introduced as a temporary measure in response to the pandemic, the standard allowance for a single adult under the age of 25 will go from £79 to £59 per week, meaning that £20 is really worth a 25% income cut. For couples including one or more people aged 25 or over, the reduction is worth 15% of their income and takes them from £137 to £117 per week.

Because Universal Credit payments are linked to earnings, the amount claimants receive falls in line with any rise in pay. That means another £20 in their pay packet won’t make up for the £100-per-year shortfall.

READ MORE: Voices from the frontline respond to Universal Credit cut

According to the Resolution Foundation, 4.4 million UK households will be affected by the change, including 5.1m adults and 3.5m children.

That includes around 480,000 people in Scotland, where around 24% of households are estimated to live in fuel poverty – according to estimates that pre-date the current hike in energy prices.

Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation, said: “For one million households that will mean an immediate loss of over 10% of their income as we take the basic rate of benefits to its lowest level since 1990.”

So what does £20-per-week buy? It could pay for a bag of essentials at a major supermarket – we priced a selection of milk, bread, juice, rice, spaghetti, chicken, onions, peppers, grapes, biscuits and crisps at Asda for around £19 and £3 less at Aldi. Or it could pay for a 5DaySaver bus ticket for a week of travel in Dundee to take you to and from work or appointments, with £5 left over.

You can’t live it up on £20 per week. But you can worry a little less. Or you could.