The UK has, in theory, an income safety net to ensure that nobody has too little income to subsist. Universal Credit (UC) is supposed to provides a minimum monthly income for all working age adults and their children, provided that those able to work take steps to find employment. Pension Credit provides a minimum income guarantee for those above state pension age. The purpose of these benefits is to ensure that nobody has to be left without financial means; on this basis, some people are excluded because they have savings that they could draw on. But for this to be called a safety net, it needs to be set at a level sufficient to meet people’s basic needs. No government has ever tested benefit levels against this criterion.

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