A person visits the Government Gateway website to apply for Universal Credit online
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Benefit chiefs are still “finalising” warning letters to six million Brits whose Universal Credit will be cut in 10 weeks’ time.
Welfare claimants are to get online messages, letters and phone calls before October notifying them of the £20-a-week deduction.
But asked when they will start being sent, DWP minister Will Quince said: “The details of this process are currently being finalised.”
Mr Quince insisted the government “had always been clear” an 18-month £20 uplift due to Covid was only temporary.
But Labour ’s shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said the news will be “a very large shock and will be a source of very real worry” for some families – and notifications look set to drop during the school holidays.
The government says it's always been clear, but millions of families will see the cut for the first time
He will write today to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey saying: “It is deeply troubling that the six million households who will see their income reduced by £1,000 a year have still not been informed of this.
“If your department is to proceed with this cut, families need to know about it as soon as possible. Many will have spent the last 18 months anxious about their family’s finances.
“They do not deserve to find out about this substantial change at the very last minute.”
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Ms Coffey has confirmed claimants will “start to see an adjustment in their payments” from late September onwards after the Treasury refused Tory MPs’ pleas to make the £20-a-week uplift permanent.
Six former Work and Pensions Secretaries have called for the cut to be axed, warning that failing to do so would "damage living standards, health and opportunities”.
But Ms Coffey told MPs: “Ahead of October we will start communicating with the current claimants who receive the £20 to make them aware that that will be being phased out.”
Around half of people on Universal Credit only started claiming it during the pandemic.
That means there will be millions of claimants who have never known life with the benefit £20 lower than it is now, and will be seeing the cut for the first time.