Income Support

Persons wishing to make a claim should see the Gov.uk Income Support web pages for further information and eligibility criteria. Persons cannot claim Income Support and Universal Credit at the same time.

The Gov.uk website also contains links to benefits calculators. These are free to use and anonymous.

Please see the county's crisis support scheme webpage for information on support for the people of Lancashire who are experiencing a crisis beyond their control.

Summary

Income Support (IS) is intended to help people on low incomes who do not have to be available for employment. Income Support is mainly claimed by lone parents with children under five, carers, those people on other income-related benefits and recipients of various types of incapacity benefits.

Income Support is one of the benefits which is being replaced by Universal Credit. The number of persons claiming Income Support is therefore projected to decline.

Income Support figures for August 2016

Income Support data for August 2016 and yearly change figures may be affected by the differing speeds of the roll out of Universal Credit across the country. This should be borne in mind when analysing the figures.

The Income Support caseload in Great Britain (GB) was 650,820 in August 2016, of which, 82,580 (12.7%) were in the North West region.

In the Lancashire 14 area, the total Income Support caseload was 14,750 in August 2016. Of this figure, the majority, 8,820 cases (59.8%), were lone parents in receipt of Income Support, followed by 4,500 cases (30.5%) who were carers in receipt of Income Support. Some 670 cases (4.5%) fell within the incapacity benefits grouping, and 770 cases (5.2%) were in receipt of other income-related benefits.

At the local authority level, the two unitary authorities of Blackpool (2.370) and Blackburn with Darwen (1.920) recorded the highest Income Support caseload figures in the Lancashire-14 area, followed by Preston (1,620) and Burnley (1,250). In comparison, Ribble Valley had a caseload of just 160.

Average Income Support payments for all claimants amounted to £71.63 per week in GB, £71.42 in the North West, £71.99 at the Lancashire-14 level and £71.52 for the Lancashire-12 area. At the local authority level within the Lancashire-14 area, average weekly payment figures varied between a high of £73.92 in Wyre to £70.09 in Burnley.

Change in Income Support caseloads – context

Income Support caseload numbers in Great Britain have been in decline since August 2001, when they totalled 2,274,730 persons (excluding 1,723,730 Minimum Income Guarantee cases). The larger decreases since this time reflect changes to the benefit system over the years. These include the introduction of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on 27 October 2008, which replaced Incapacity Benefit, Lone Parent Obligations, which came into effect from 24 November 2008, and the roll out of Universal Credit in 2014 and 2015.

The group claiming Carer's Allowance is the only Income Support sub-set to see a rise in numbers between August 2001 and August 2016, more than doubling over the period. The carers sub-group accounted for 26.8% of the total GB Income Support caseload in August 2016, the second largest grouping behind lone parents (63.7%).

The incapacity benefits sub-group, which previously accounted for 52.7% of the Income Support caseload total in August 2001, has seen a sharp decline since October 2008, when the Employment and Support Allowance was introduced. By August 2016, the incapacity benefits sub-group represented just 4.9% of the total GB Income Support caseload. Claimants of other income related benefits accounted for 4.6% of the total.

Change in Income Support caseloads since 2006

At the GB level, Income Support caseload numbers have fallen by 69.6% (1,487,560 persons) since August 2006, and by a slightly higher percentage, 73.2% (40,300 persons), in the Lancashire-14 area. Claimant numbers have fallen by a similar percentage, 73.0% (28,250), in the Lancashire-12 area.

In the Lancashire-14 area, the 40,300 reduction (-73.2%) in the total Income Support caseload since August 2006 was made up by a fall of 33,620 persons (-98.0%) claiming incapacity benefits, a drop of 8,040 lone parents (-47.7%), a decrease of 980 persons (-56.0%) claiming other income related benefits, and a rise of 2,360 people (110.3%) claiming Carer's Allowance. Please note that the Income Support sub-groupings may not sum, owing to rounding.

Eleven of the Lancashie-14 authorities recorded greater percentage reductions to their Income Support total caseloads than the national decrease of 69.6% between August 2006 and August 2016. Ribble Valley (77.1%, 540 persons), Pendle (76.5%, 2,900 persons), Lancaster (75.3%, 3,540 persons) and Hyndburn (74.4%, 2,910 persons) saw the largest percentage reductions.

Blackpool (6,160 persons, 72.2%), Blackburn with Darwen (5,880, 75.4%) and Preston (4,260, 72.4%) have seen the largest decreases in Income Support caseloads since August 2006. Ribble Valley (540 persons, 77.1%) has seen the lowest reduction.

Yearly change in Income Support caseloads

Between August 2015 and August 2016, the Income Support total caseloads have fallen by 9.1% in GB (65,360 cases), by 16.8% in the Lancashire-14 area (2,970 cases), and by 17.1% in the Lancashire-12 area (2,160 cases).

In the Lancashire-14 area, the 2,970 yearly reduction in the total Income Support caseload (-16.8%) was made up by a fall of 1,380 persons (-67.3%) claiming incapacity benefits, a drop of 1,450 lone parents (-14.1%), a decrease of 160 persons (-17.2%) claiming other income related benefits, and a slight rise of 30 people (0.7%) claiming Carer's Allowance. Please note that the Income Support sub-groupings may not sum, owing to rounding.

Within the Lancashire-14 area, Blackpool (430), Preston (390) Blackburn with Darwen (380) and Lancaster (270) have seen the greatest decreases in their Income Support caseloads over the previous year, whilst Ribble Valley (50 cases) recorded the lowest.

All Lancashire-14 authorities saw larger yearly percentage reductions than the GB average fall (9.1%) in relation to their Income Support total caseloads. Ribble Valley (23.8%, 50 persons), South Ribble (21.6%, 190 people), West Lancashire (19.5%, 230 persons) and Preston (19.4%, 390 people) saw the largest percentage falls in the area.

Further analysis

Income Support caseloads, August 2016 and recent changes (PDF 1,156 KB)

Page updated May 2017