Universal Credit

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) publish experimental monthly Universal Credit statistics by local authority boundary.

The experimental designation is in place owing to the Universal Credit system still being rolled out across the country. Caution should therefore be applied when analysing and interpreting the data. The bulk of the transition to Universal Credit is currently estimated to be completed by 2023.

As from the April 2017 data release, the provisional Universal Credit figures have no longer been analysed by Business Intelligence. However, these, and the revised data in this analysis, can be sourced from the DWP's Stat-Xplore online data selection tool.  

Important notice: data revised downwards from January 2016 to December 2018

The DWP has identified problems relating to individuals with multiple spells on Universal Credit (UC). Instead of showing multiple distinct periods of time when UC was claimed, individuals appear as if they had been on one long claim that started at the time of their original claim. In addition, owing to the input of incorrect dates, some individuals were recorded as being on UC for short periods before or after their genuine start and end dates.

The DWP has now resolved the above issues. As a result, the number of people on Universal Credit has been revised downwards from 8 January 2016 to 13 December 2018. The number removed increases over time, with 36,895 persons (2.4%) removed from the people on UC total at the GB level between the the provisional release of the December 2018 data (published in January 2019) and the revised release of the December 2018 data (published in February 2019). For the Lancashire-12 area, 1,292 persons (7.9%) were removed from the people on UC total over the same period, with downward revisions ranging from 7 people in Ribble Valley to 281 persons in Burnley, and 318 persons in Lancaster. Totals for previous months have also been corrected downwards. 

The issue was addressed in the 19th February 2019 Universal Credit Official Experimental Statistics publication. The DWP recommends that users do not use previously published Universal Credit Official Statistics for People on Universal Credit made between 8th January 2016 and 13th December 2018. Further details are contained the Statistical Notice published by the DWP on 19 February 2019.

Key findings for the Lancashire-14 area

Universal Credit (UC) total persons and rates, January 2019 (revised)

In January 2019, the total number of persons on Universal Credit in Great Britain was 1,616,928 (revised). Of this total, 1,013,557 persons (62.7%) were 'Not in employment' and 603,371 people (37.3%) were 'In employment'. The total was up by 82,473 (5.4%) on the previous month and up by 899,515 persons (125.4%) over the previous year.

For the Lancashire-12 area, a total of 34,452 persons were on Universal Credit. Of these, 21,186 persons (61.5%) were 'Not in employment' and 13,244 people (38.4%) were 'In employment'. The total was up by 1,465 persons (4.4%) on the previous month and up by 13,371 (63.4%) over the previous year.

The total number of people on Universal Credit in the Lancashire-14 area was 45,482 in January 2019. Of these, 28,741 persons (63.2%) were 'Not in employment' and the remaining 16,724 people (36.8%) were 'In employment'. The total was up by 2,170 persons (5.0%) on the previous month and up by 18,078 (66.0%) over the previous year.

Lancaster had the largest total number of persons on Universal Credit (7,842) within the Lancashire-12 area in January 2019 (revised), followed by Burnley (6,127), Preston (4,162), Hyndburn (3,921) and West Lancashire (3,769). Ribble Valley (454) had the lowest number of persons on Universal Credit in the area.

The Universal Credit figure in Blackburn with Darwen totalled 7,324 people in January 2019, whilst in Blackpool, the total was 3,706 people. These were the second and seventh largest totals in the Lancashire-14 area.

The GB rate for the total number of persons on Universal Credit as a percentage of persons aged 16 to 64 years was 4.0% in January 2019. Rates for the Lancashire-12 area (4.7%) and the Lancashire-14 area (5.0%) were greater than the GB rate.

Five of the Lancashire-12 authorities had rates that were above the GB average (4.0%). Burnley (11.5%) had the highest rate, followed by Lancaster (8.7%), Hyndburn (8.0%), West Lancashire (5.4%) and Preston (4.5%). The rates for Blackburn with Darwen (7.9%) and Blackpool (4.3%) were also above the GB average (4.0%), making a total of seven in the wider Lancashire-14 area. Seven of the Lancashire-12 authorities had rates that were below the GB average, ranging from 3.1% in Chorley, to 1.3% in Ribble Valley.

Universal Credit full service provision rollout

Lancaster became a Universal Credit full service area in July 2016 – the first in the Lancashire-14 area. This means that persons can process claims online, rather than via the phone. More complex claims are also processed. The result has been an acceleration in the number of persons claiming Universal Credit in Lancaster, which has increased more than six fold since July 2016 (up by 6,591 persons, 526.9%). Lancaster had a number of substantial upward revisions over the summer months of 2016. A further impact in Lancaster has been the accelerated reduction in the number of claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) since July 2016, which fell by 72.8% (618 persons), from 849 people in July 2016 to 231 people in July 2018. The JSA claimant proportion for Lancaster fell from 0.9% in July 2016, to 0.3% in July 2017, and remained at that level for the majority of the time to July 2018. Other benefits that are being replaced by Universal Credit may also be similarly affected over time. 

Burnley became a Universal Credit full service area in May 2017, West Lancashire in December 2017, and Blackburn with Darwen and Hyndburn in February 2018. Preston and South Ribble became Universal Credit full service areas in March 2018 and Chorley in April 2018. Pendle, Ribble Valley and Rossendale all became Universal Credit full service areas in July 2018. Fylde, Wyre and Blackpool were the last of the Lancashire-14 areas to transition to Universal Credit full service provision in September 2018.

The total number of people on Universal Credit in Burnley has risen by 4,468 people (269.3%) since May 2017, increasing from 1,659 persons to 6,127 persons, more than tripling. The next greatest percentage rise in total numbers in the Lancashire-14 area was in Blackburn with Darwen (235.8%, +5,143 persons), followed by Hyndburn (195.7%, +2,595 persons) and West Lancashire (156.7%, +2,301 persons) since May 2017 (GB = 214.9%).

The Universal Credit full service rollout schedule for each of the Lancashire-14 authorities is provided below in the background information document (section 1.3).

 

Monthly change in Universal Credit totals 

Eleven of the Lancashire-12 authorities recorded monthly increases to their respective totals for the number of people on Universal Credit. Totals rose the most in Preston (308 persons, 8.0%), followed by Pendle (214 persons, 20.8%), Wyre (172 persons, 17.6%) and Hyndburn (154 persons, 4.1%). Blackpool (397 people, 12.0%) and Blackburn with Darwen (308 persons, 4.4%) recorded the first and second largest monthly increases in the wider Lancashire-14 area.

Lancaster was the only Lancashire-14 area to see the total number of people on Universal Credit fall over the previous month (down by 38 persons, -0.5%).

Eight of the Lancashire-12 areas, and Blackpool in the wider Lancashire-14 area, recorded monthly percentage increases in the total number of persons on Universal Credit that were above the GB rise of 5.4%. Of these, Pendle (20.8%), Fylde (20.1%), Wyre (17.6%) and Rossendale (14.5%) saw the largest percentage increases.   

Monthly change in total Universal Credit rates 

The GB rate for the total number of persons on Universal Credit rose by 0.2 percentage points over the month to 4.0%. The Lancashire-12 rate also increased by 0.2 percentage, but rose to 4.7%. The Lancashire-14 rate increased by a marginally higher 0.3 percentage points over the month, but rose to 5.0%.

Eleven of the Lancashire-12 areas recorded increases to their total Universal Credit rates over the month. The rate for Pendle rose the most, increasing by 0.4 percentage points to 2.3% in January 2019. The rate increases for Rossendale, Preston and Hyndburn, which all rose by +0.3 percentage points, were also greater than the GB rise (0.2 percentage points) over the month. In the Lancashire-14 area, the rate for Blackpool also rose by 0.4 percentage points, and the rate Blackburn with Darwen increased by 0.3 percentage points.

The rate for Lancaster was unchanged over the month.

Yearly change in Universal Credit totals

Eleven of the Lancashire-12 authorities recorded yearly increases to the total number of persons on Universal Credit. Hyndburn's total rose by the greatest extent (2,456 people, 167.6%) in the Lancashire-12 area, increasing from 1,465 to 3,921 persons. The total for Burnley saw the next largest yearly increase (2,342 persons, 61.9%), rising from 3,785 persons to 6,127 persons. West Lancashire (2,166 persons, 135.1%), Preston (2,158 people, 107.7%) and Lancaster (1,816 people, 30.1%) were next in the rankings for yearly increases. Wyre (31 people, 2.8%) saw the smallest yearly increase.

Blackburn with Darwen (4,972, 211.4%) recorded the largest yearly increase in the wider Lancashire-14 area, more than tripling from 2,352 people to 7,324 people.

Fylde (-42 people, -6.2%) was the only Lancashire-12 area where the January 2019 total number of persons on Universal Credit was lower than the January 2018 figure. However, in the wider Lancashire-14 area, Blackpool (-265 persons, -6.7%) saw the greatest fall over the year.

Yearly change in total Universal Credit rates

The GB rate for the total number of persons on Universal Credit rose by 2.2 percentage points over the year, from 1.8% to 4.0%.

Owing to the earlier roll out of Universal Credit in the North West, local rates will have tended to be greater in January 2018 in most instances. The Lancashire-12 area saw the rate for the total number of persons on UC rise by a lower 1.8 percentage points, but increase from 2.9% to 4.7% over the year. The Lancashire-14 area recorded a yearly rate increase of 2.0 percentage points, rising from 3.0% to 5.0%.

Within the Lancashire-12 area, ten areas recorded yearly rate rises for the total number of persons on Universal Credit. Hyndburn recorded the largest yearly increase, rising by 5.0 percentage points, to 8.0% in January 2019. Burnley (+4.4 percentage points), West Lancashire (+3.1 percentage points) and Preston (+2.3%) also saw their rates rise by more than the GB yearly increase of 2.2 percentage points. Blackburn with Darwen (+5.4 percentage points), in the wider Lancashire-14 area, also saw its rate rise by more than the GB yearly increase.

Fylde (-0.1 percentage point) was the only Lancashire-12 area to see a reduction in its total rate over the year. The total rate for Wyre (1.8%) was the same in January 2019 as it was in January 2018.

Table 1: Total number of persons on Universal Credit and rates (% of persons aged 16 to 64), January 2019 (revised), and monthly and yearly changes.  

Table 2: 'Not in employment' Universal Credit figures.  

Table 3: 'In employment' Universal Credit figures.

Note: Rates are for persons aged 16 to 64, calculated by Business Intelligence, Lancashire County Council, using 2017 Mid-year population estimates (as revised on 22 March 2018). Numbers for the Lancashire-12 and Lancashire-14 areas have been calculated by summing the relevant local authority figures. This month the Lancashire-12 data was not available via the DWP Stat-Xplore web site.   

Source: DWP via Stat-Xplore, People on Universal Credit and Office for National Statistics - 2016 Mid-year population estimates (22 March 2018 revisions).

New interactive table functionality - click on the column headings to rank the data in that column. Click on the ID column heading to reset the table. Scroll across for more columns. Scroll up and down if required. Click on the diagonal double-ended arrow at the bottom right of the above table to enter full screen mode. Click the arrows next to the '1 to 3' label at the bottom of the table to move through tables 1, 2 and 3. 

 

'Not in employment' Universal Credit category

The number of persons within the GB 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category was 1,013,557 in January 2019 (62.7% of the total). The figure was up by 80,238 (8.6%) on the previous month and up by 573,334 persons (130.2%) over the previous year.

In the Lancashire-12 area, the number of persons within the 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category was 21,186 persons in January 2019 (61.5% of the total). This figure was up by 1,591 (8.1%) on the previous month and up by 8,427 persons (66.0%) over the previous year.

For the Lancashire-14 area, the number of persons within the 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category was 28,741 persons in January 2019 (63.2% of the total). This figure was up by 2,364 (9.0%) on the previous month and up by 11,853 persons (70.2%) over the previous year.

Within the Lancashire-12 area, Lancaster (4,544), Burnley (4,004), Preston (2,692) and Hyndburn (2,473) had the greatest number of persons in this category. Across the wider Lancashire-14 area, Blackburn with Darwen (4,967) and Blackpool (2,588) had the largest and fifth largest totals, respectively.

The GB rate for the number of persons in the 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category was 2.5% in January 2018. Rates for the Lancashire-12 area (2.9%) and the Lancashire-14 area (3.1%) were greater than the GB rate.

Five of the Lancashire-12 authorities had rates that were above the GB average (2.5%) for this category, with Burnley (7.5%) having the highest rate in the area, followed by Lancaster (5.0%), Hyndburn (5.0%), West Lancashire (3.1%) and Preston (2.9%). Blackburn with Darwen (5.4%) and Blackpool (3.0%), in the wider Lancashire-14 area, also had rates above the GB average.

Monthly change in 'Not in employment' UC numbers

The GB 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category increased by 80,238 persons (8.6%) between December 2018 and January 2019, to 1,013,557 people.

All of the Lancashire-12 local authority areas recorded monthly increases to their 'Not in employment' Universal Credit numbers. The largest of these was in Preston (275 persons, 11.4%), followed by Hyndburn (214 people, 9.5%), Pendle (182 persons, 27.1%) and Wyre (143 persons, 24.3%). Blackpool (430 people, 19.9%) and Blackburn with Darwen (343 people, 7.4%) saw the largest monthly increases in the Lancashire-14 area.

Eight Lancashire-12 areas recorded monthly percentage increases that were greater than the GB rise (8.6%). Fylde (28.0%), Pendle (27.1%), Wyre (24.3%) and Rossendale (23.0%) had the greatest month percentage rises.

Monthly change to 'Not in employment' UC rates

The GB rate for the number of persons in the 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category rose over the month by 0.2 percentage points to 2.5% at January 2019. The Lancashire-12 rate for this category also rose by 0.2 percentage point, rising to 2.9%. Similarly, the Lancashire-14 rate increased by 0.2 percentage points, to 3.1% for this category.

All of the Lancashire-12 areas recorded monthly rate rises for the 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category. The rates for Hyndburn and Pendle increased the most over the month, each rising by 0.4 percentage points. The rates for Rossendale, Wyre and Preston each rose by 0.3 percentage points. The rate for West Lancashire, Burnley, Fylde and Chorley each rose by 0.2 percentage points, whilst the rates for Ribble Valley, South Ribble and Lancaster each rose by 0.1 percentage point for this category. The rate for Blackpool in the wider Lancashire-14 area recorded the largest monthly rate increase in the area, rising by 0.5 percentage points. The rate for Blackburn with Darwen rose by 0.4 percentage points.

Yearly change in 'Not in employment' UC numbers

The number of people in the GB 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category increased by 573,334 persons (130.2%) between January 2018 and January 2019, to 1,013,557 people, more than doubling.

All of the Lancashire-12 authorities recorded increases to the number of persons within the 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category over the year. Hyndburn (+1,527 persons, 161.4%) saw numbers rise by the greatest extent for this category in the Lancashire-12 area, rising from 946 people to 2,473 persons. Numbers in this category have doubled, or more than doubled in Hyndburn (+1,527 persons, 161.4%), West Lancashire (+1,217 people, 129.5%), Preston (+1,505 persons, 126.8%), South Ribble (+601 people, 114.3%) and Chorley (+697 people, 109.1%) and over the year. Lancaster (+945 people, 26.3%) also saw a large numeric rise. However, Blackburn with Darwen (+3,464 persons, 230.5%) saw the largest increase in the wider Lancashire-14 area, more than tripling over the year, with numbers rising from 1,503 persons to 4,967 persons.

Blackpool (-38 people, -1.4%) was the only Lancashire-14 area to see a reduction to the number of persons in the 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category over the year.

The 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category accounted for 63.0% (8,427 persons) of the total yearly increase in persons on Universal Credit (13,371 people) in the Lancashire-12 area and 65.6% (11,853 persons) of the Lancashire-14 total rise of 18,078 people (GB = 63.7%).

Yearly change to 'Not in employment' UC rates

The GB rate for the number of persons in the 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category rose by 1.4 percentage points over the year, from 1.1% to 2.5%. The Lancashire-14 area saw a marginally lower rate increase for this category, rising by 1.3 percentage points over the year, to 3.1%. The Lancashire-12 area recorded a slightly lower increase of 1.2 percentage points, but increasing to 2.9%.

Eleven of the Lancashire-12 authorities saw their 'Not in employment' Universal Credit category rates rise over the year. Hyndburn recorded the largest yearly rate rise for this category in the Lancashire-12 area, increasing by 3.1 percentage points, to 5.0%. Burnley (2.8 percentage points), West Lancashire (1.8 percentage points) and Preston (1.6 percentage points) also saw their rates rise by more than the GB average yearly increase (1.4 percentage points). Blackburn with Darwen (+3.8 percentage points) saw its 'Not in employment' Universal Credit rate rise by the largest extent over the year in the wider Lancashire-14 area, and above the GB yearly average increase.

The rate for this category in Fylde (0.9%) was the same in January 2019 as it was in January 2018.

'In employment' Universal Credit category

The number of persons within the GB 'In employment' Universal Credit category was 603,371 in January 2019 (37.3% of the total). The figure was up by 2,237 (0.4%) on the previous month and up by 326,179 persons (117.7%) over the previous year - more than doubling.

In the Lancashire-12 area, the number of persons within the 'In employment' Universal Credit category was 13,390 persons in January 2019 (38.4% of the total). This figure had fallen by 146 people (1.1%) on the previous month but had risen by 4,923 persons (59.2%) over the previous year.

For the Lancashire-14 area, the number of persons within the 'In employment' Universal Credit category was 16,724 persons in January 2019 (39.1% of the total). This figure had decreased by 215 persons (1.3%) over the previous month but risen by 6,206 persons (59.0%) over the previous year.

Within the Lancashire-12 area, Lancaster (3,292), Burnley (2,124), West Lancashire (1,613), Preston (1472) and Hyndburn (1,447) had the largest number of persons in this category. Universal Credit full service was rolled out in these areas between July 2016 and March 2018. Ribble Valley (213 persons) had the lowest total for this category in the area. The 'In employment' UC category figures for Blackburn with Darwen (2,355) and Blackpool (1,125) were the second and seventh largest in the wider Lancashire-14 area. UC full service provision was rolled out in Blackburn with Darwen in February 2018, but in Blackpool, it was only rolled out in September 2018.

The GB rate for persons within the 'In employment' Universal Credit category was 1.5% in January 2019. The rates for both the Lancashire-12 area (1.8%) and the Lancashire-14 area (1.8%) were above the GB rate.

Five of the Lancashire-12 authorities had rates that were greater than the GB average (1.5%) with Burnley (4.0%) and Lancaster (3.6%) having the highest rates in the area for this category, followed by Hyndburn (2.9%), West Lancashire (2.3%) and Preston (1.6%). Blackburn with Darwen (2.5%) and Blackpool (1.3%) had the fourth and seventh highest rates in the wider Lancashire-14 area.

Seven of the Lancashire-12 authorities had rates that were lower than the GB average (1.5%) with Fylde (0.5%) having the lowest rate for this category in the area.

Monthly change to 'In employment' UC numbers

The number of persons within the GB 'In employment' Universal Credit category had increased by 2,237 (0.4%) on the previous month, rising to 603,371 persons in January 2019.

Between December 2018 and January 2019, eight of the Lancashire-12 authorities recorded monthly increases to their 'In employment' Universal Credit category totals. Preston (38 people, 2.6%), Pendle (34 persons, 9.6%) and Wyre (31 people, 8.1%) recorded the largest monthly increases in the area. All eight areas had monthly percentage increases that were greater than the GB rise of 0.4%, with Pendle (9.6%) having the greatest monthly percentage rise.

Four of the Lancashire-12 authorities saw reductions to the number of persons within the 'In employment' Universal Credit category over the month. Lancaster  (-179 persons, -5.2%) recorded the largest monthly fall in the area, followed by Hyndburn (-59 persons, -3.9%). Both Blackburn with Darwen (-42 persons, -1.8%) and Blackpool (-27 people, -2.3%) within the Lancashire-14 area also saw decreases for this category.

Monthly change to 'In employment' UC rates

The GB rate for the number of persons within the 'In employment' Universal Credit category was unchanged over the previous month, at 1.5%. Similarly, the rate for the Lancashire-12 area was unchanged on the previous month remaining at 1.8%. However, the rate for the Lancashire-14 area fell marginally, by 0.1 percentage point, falling to 1.8%.

Three Lancashire-12 authorities recorded monthly rate rises for the 'In employment' Universal Credit category. The rates for Pendle, Wyre and South Ribble each rose by 0.1 percentage point.

Three Lancashire-12 authorities also saw decreases to their rates over the last month. Lancaster and Hyndburn each saw reductions of 0.2 percentage points, whilst the rate for West Lancashire fell by 0.1 percentage point.

The rates for the remaining six Lancashire-12 authorities were unchanged over the month, as was the rate for Blackpool in the wider Lancashire-14 area.

The rate for Blackburn with Darwen in the Lancashire-14 area decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the month.

Yearly change to 'In employment' UC numbers

The GB 'In employment' Universal Credit category rose by 326,179 persons (117.7%) over the previous year to 603,371 in January 2019.

Eight of the Lancashire-12 authorities saw an increase to the number of persons within the 'In employment' Universal Credit category over the year. The total rose by the greatest amount in West Lancashire (+947 persons, +142.2%), increasing from 666 people to 1,613 persons. The second largest rise was in Hyndburn (+930 persons, +179.9%), followed by Lancaster (+866 persons, +35.7%) and Burnley (+840 persons, +65.4%). However, Blackburn with Darwen (+1,504 persons, +176.7%) recorded the largest increase in the wider Lancashire-14 area, ahead of West Lancashire and Hyndburn.

Four of the Lancashire-12 authorities saw reductions to the number of persons within the 'In employment' Universal Credit category over the year. Pendle (-67 people, -14.7%) recorded the largest fall, followed by Fylde (-57 people, -19.5%), Rossendale (-30 people, -8.6%) and Wyre (-10 people, -2.3%). Blackpool (-221 people, -16.4%) also saw a yearly fall in the number of persons in this category, which was the largest reduction in the Lancashire-14 area.

Yearly change to 'In employment' UC rates

The GB rate for the number of persons within the 'In employment' Universal Credit category rose by 0.8 percentage points, to 1.5% over the year. The Lancashire-12 area also saw the rate for the number of persons within the 'In employment' Universal Credit category rise over the year, but by a marginally lower 0.7 percentage points, increasing to 1.8%. The Lancashire-14 area recorded an increase of 0.6 percentage points, rising to 1.8% as well.

Eight of the Lancashire-12 areas recorded increases to their 'In employment' Universal Credit category rates over the year. Locally, Hyndburn recorded the largest yearly rise, increasing by 1.8 percentage points, to 2.9% for this category. Burnley (+1.6 percentage points), West Lancashire (+1.3 percentage points) and Lancaster (+0.9 percentage points) also saw their rates rise by more than the GB average (+0.8 percentage points). In the wider Lancashire-14 area, Blackburn with Darwen (+1.6 percentage points) recorded the joint second largest increase to its 'In employment' Universal Credit category rate over the year. Preston (+0.7 percentage points), South Ribble (+0.6 percentage points), Chorley (+0.5 percentage points) and Ribble Valley (+0.2 percentage points) were the other Lancashire-12 areas to see yearly rate rises for this category.

Pendle, Fylde and Rossendale were the three Lancashire-12 areas to record yearly reductions to their 'In employment' UC category rates, each falling by 0.1 percentage point. Blackpool (-0.3 percentage points) saw the largest yearly reduction to its 'In employment' UC category rates in the Lancashire-14 area over the year.

The 'In employment' Universal Credit category rate for Wyre was the same in January 2019 as it was in January 2018.

Data and background information

People on Universal Credit, January 2019 data (revised), plus monthly and yearly changes (XLSX 26 KB)

Persons on Universal Credit, background information PDF document (PDF 898 KB)

Page updated 26 March 2019