Published On: Fri, Dec 20th, 2019

State pension: Christmas Bonus could have bought a car in past says charity | Personal Finance | Finance

From the increased consumption of heating to paying for food over the festive period, December can be an expensive time. In order to help some people who may be feeling the pinch, recipients of certain benefits and the state pension may be able to get a Christmas Bonus.

The Pensioners’ Payments and Social Security Act of 1979 established the Christmas Bonus permanently, however the amount is not uprated each year.

The national poverty charity Turn2Us has this week said that the £10 Christmas Bonus is now worth the equivalent of 76 pence in today’s money, as it has never increased.

It added that the bonus should be worth £129.61 if it had kept up with inflation.

Under Universal Credit, the bonus is to be scrapped and there are no plans to replace it – affecting up to seven million people by the time the new benefit is fully rolled out, Turn2Us said.


Sara Willcocks, Head of Communications at Turn2us, said: “In 1972 £10 could go a long way and would have been enough to help see a family through the festive period.

“Today it’s barely enough to buy a joint of meat – let alone a full Christmas dinner.

“We urge the Government to not just keep the Christmas Bonus but to increase it, at least in line with the rate of inflation, and to remember the reasons why it was established in the first place.

“This would go a small way to giving people the helping hand they need at what is one of the most difficult times of year for people struggling financially.”

Turn2Us also suggested some items which £10 could have bought in the year the Christmas Bonus was first introduced – claiming this included a second hand car.

It also suggested that one could have bought 71 pints of beer with this amount of money.

According to research from Nationwide Building Society, the average spend on Christmas dinner/pudding items is £37.

The poll also found that people are likely to spend the same amount on alcohol as they would on the food for Christmas dinner, with an average spend of £38 on the festive tipples.

For those struggling financially at this time of year, Turn2Us has issued the following advice:

  • Use the Turn2us Grants Search to find out what help you may be eligible for. While most charitable funds do not provide specific grants to help meet the costs of Christmas, some may consider applications of this nature, depending on circumstances and background.
  • The Benefits Calculator allows you to check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. While this is not directly focused towards Christmas support, they may help to relieve the financial burden experienced at Christmas.
  • Your local Citizens Advice Bureau should also be able to provide information, advice and signposting to services in your local area that may be able to help this Christmas.
  • The Salvation Army holds a Christmas present appeal every year, which provides gifts to children and young people. Contact your local Salvation Army to ask how they distribute gifts in your area.
  • Crisis provides support at Christmas by offering somewhere safe to spend Christmas, and Christmas meals and activities.
  • Wood Street Mission can help with gifts for children living in Manchester and Salford. You need to be referred to Wood Street Mission by a professional who knows your family’s circumstances.

People can also call the Turn2Us helpline on 0808 802 2000 for advice on which benefits or charitable grants they may be entitled to.

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