This year’s Welfare trends report (WTR) comes at the end of an extraordinary year that has resulted in the highest peacetime deficit in UK history. Virus-related support measures dominate that rise, but welfare spending (as defined in UK statistics, so not including the CJRS and SEISS) has also risen by £20.1 billion or 1.6 per cent of GDP in 2020-21. That rise has been dominated by higher spending on universal credit, where the number of individuals and households receiving the benefit almost doubled this year. And we expect the pandemic to leave spending higher in the medium term too.

Read the Welfare trends report 2021