Press release


24 August 2023

RCP backs calls for Essentials Guarantee

In a letter to the Prime Minister, doctors, health professionals and anti-poverty campaigners called for a new law to make sure Universal Credit’s basic rate is always at least enough for people to afford the essentials.

Analysis from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found almost nine in 10 (87%) low income households on Universal Credit went without essentials like food or heating, while 2.7 million households reported having a poor diet as a result of high prices over the last two years. The Essentials Guarantee would see the UK government set the Universal Credit level annually based on the recommendation of an independent process.

Dr Sarah Clarke, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said:

“We know that people’s health is affected by wider social issues, such as low incomes. A recent survey of RCP members found almost a third had seen more people with illness due to their living conditions in the prior three months. This is simply unacceptable. 

“The RCP set up the Inequalities in Health Alliance to tackle this issue. We are proud to support the Essentials Guarantee and we firmly echo the calls for government to ensure peoples’ access to the essentials so that we can have a healthier society, reduce demand on the NHS, and strengthen the economy.”