Government must act now as thousands in Brent worse off under Universal Credit plans


- Credit: Archant

About 26,400 families in Brent will claim Universal Credit (UC) from November onwards when the new benefit starts being rolled out locally.

UC replaces income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit. It will arrive in Harlesden Jobcentre in November and Wembley in December.

Initially, the change will only affect people who make a new claim or who already claim one or more of the outgoing benefits, but whose circumstances change (such as starting or losing a job). Between 2019 and 2022, all existing claimants will move to UC.

After making a claim for UC online, you have to wait five weeks for your first payment. You can request an advance of up to a full month’s payment when you first claim UC. You will have to repay this, meaning your payments will be reduced for the next 12 months. You can also ask for fortnightly payments (instead of monthly), direct rent payments to your landlord or split payments with your partner, but these options are not necessarily available to everyone. While some people will be better off on UC, many thousands in Brent and around 4.3 million families across the country will be worse off (the majority of both working and non-working households). Lone parents with children will be, on average, £2,380 a year worse off as a result of UC.

The government needs to reverse these cuts to ensure people are not worse off on this new system.

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