Half a million claimants are losing nearly £230 a month. Debts include repayments for social fund loans, hardship payments, integration loans as well as housing benefit and tax credit overpayments
Image: Getty Images)
Millions on Universal Credit are seeing it slashed by the Government to pay back loans and overpayments.
The deductions are on top of the axed £20 weekly Covid top-up. Half a million claimants are losing nearly £230 a month.
Figures obtained by Shadow Work and Pension secretary Jonathan Reynolds show that in June last year there were zero deductions on UC to pay debts owed by claimants, but by last May there were 1.1 million-plus.
Debts include repayments for social fund loans, hardship payments, integration loans as well as housing benefit and tax credit overpayments.
Manchester Evening News)
But around 1.57 million – a third of all 4.73 million UC claimants – are also facing deductions for advances while they waited up to six weeks for the benefit.
More than 500,000 claimants are seeing their benefits slashed by the maximum 25% allowed, which works out at £149.50 a month.
Along with the £20 a week cut it means many are losing up to £229.50 a month.
Mr Reynolds said: “To place further strain on families through deductions is cruel.”
Work and Pensions minister David Rutley said: “There are processes to ensure deductions are manageable.”
Helen Barnard, of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation fighting UK poverty, said: “The Government urgently needs to restore social security to adequate levels.”