Universal Credit

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Plymouth MP's warning for Universal Credit claimants

BBC Radio Devon

A Plymouth MP has said Universal Credit claimants may be forced to find the cash for an extra week's rent this year.

Speaking in the Commons at Prime Minister's Questions, Labour MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport Luke Pollard pointed out there are 53 Mondays in this financial year instead of the usual 52.

He said it meant many people would have to make 53 rent payments in 2019/20, because weekly housing association rent payments were due on a Monday.

Yet Universal Credit recipients will only get enough benefits to cover 52 payments, because the six-in-one benefit is calculated based on a maximum of 52 times the recipient's weekly rent.

Luke Pollard

Mr Pollard said there was a flaw in the design of Universal Credit that the government was aware of but had not yet addressed.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has dismissed the MP's claims, and said no-one would be left out of pocket.

No one on Universal Credit will be left with a week’s rent shortfall as a result of having 53 rent payments in a year. Having 53 rent days does not mean paying more rent over a year as most of the final payment will cover the first week’s rent for the following year.”

Department of Work and Pensions

New fund to fight Universal Credit benefit problems

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Christian Barnett

A new hardship fund is to be set up to help vulnerable people in Worcester who are waiting for Universal Credit payments to be made.

City councillors have voted to extend an existing fund, meaning people who might otherwise be waiting for weeks might be able to receive a payment within three days.

Getty Images

The plan also includes a yearly £15,000 grant to Worcester Food Bank for the next three years.

Last month, work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd linked the increased use of food banks with problems in rolling out Universal Credit.