The Universal Credit cut will kick in for 6million Brits next week despite pleas by charities, landlords, unions, mortgage lenders, debt charities, food banks, opposition MPs and six former Tory welfare chiefs. Here’s how it’ll hit you, by the numbers
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Every day comes another warning from charities, landlords, debt organisations and MPs about the Universal Credit cut.
Technically the cut kicks in today – just as Boris Johnson addresses the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
Six million people will then see their income fall by £20 a week overnight at some point between October 13 and November 12.
The cut is due to the end of a £20-a-week uplift, which was introduced in April 2020 to help people cope with the Covid pandemic.
Tory ministers say it’s right to end that, as society returns to normal after Covid. But critics say the biggest overnight benefit cut since the Second World War will hit millions just as furlough ends, with a fourth Covid wave looming in the wings.
Critics also blast Boris Johnson ’s claim to be focusing on people’s own “efforts” – since 40% of claimants are already in a job.
So exactly how much will your Universal Credit fall, when, and how many Brits are affected?
Here’s the cut by the numbers.
When will the Universal Credit cut happen?
The cut will actually kick in for claimants at some point between October 13 and November 12.
This is because Universal Credit is paid monthly, and the date of the change depends on how your case falls around a cut-off date in a month’s time.
Each month your benefits are calculated during an “assessment period”, which spans from five and a bit weeks to one week before you’re actually paid.
If your assessment period ends on or before October 5, you will be paid the current higher amount of Universal Credit.
If your assessment period ends on or after October 6, you will be paid the new lower amount of Universal Credit.
There’s a seven-day gap between the end of your assessment period, and the date you get paid your benefits for the month.
So that means someone whose assessment period ends on October 5 will still be paid the higher amount on October 12. They’ll only see the cut in the next month’s payment on November 12.
But someone whose assessment period ends on October 6 will be the first to see a lower Universal Credit payment on October 13.
How much will my Universal Credit be cut?
The monthly cut is worth about £85 to £90 across the board for all Universal Credit claimants, no matter what your situation is.
That’s because the money being cut is the “standard allowance”, which is received by everyone on UC.
It’s the money you get before any childcare or disability elements are added, and before any money is “tapered” away if you have a job.
- For a single person under 25, the monthly standard allowance is falling from £344 to £257.33.
- For a single person over 25, the monthly standard allowance is falling from £411.51 to £324.84.
- For a couple where both people are under 25, the monthly standard allowance is falling from £490.60 to £403.93.
- For a couple where one or both people are over 25, the monthly standard allowance is falling from £596.58 to £509.91.
You should have received a journal message or similar communication from the DWP spelling out more details of how you’ll be hit.
Working Tax Credit is also being cut by £20 a week.
How many people are affected?
The numbers are eye-watering.
In more than 400 constituencies, at least 1 in every 3 working-age families with kids will be hit. In the worst-hit areas it’s more than three quarters.
Across the UK, more than 1 in every 14 workers will be hit by the cut.
Officially, as of July 2021, there are 5,923,820 people on Universal Credit in Great Britain.
But that doesn’t count the 3.4million children who live in households where Universal Credit is being cut.
As of May 2021, there were 826,000 households on UC with one child, 662,000 with two children, 258,000 with three children, 83,000 with four children and 33,000 with five children.
Of the 5.9million people on the benefit, 2,331,915 are in employment as of June 2021 – or 40% of all those claiming Universal Credit.
That means they have a job, but still claim UC because either their hours or pay are so low they still qualify for social security.