Universal Credit payment dates to change over Christmas

Universal Credit will be paid earlier this Christmas (PA)

Universal Credit payment dates are set to change over Christmas.

The benefit could be paid earlier on Christmas eve (Friday) because Christmas Day and Boxing Day fall on a weekend, Manchester Evening News reported.

The monthly UC payment is set to be moved up because Monday (27 December) and Tuesday (28 December) are bank holidays.

If a claimant is due to be paid on a bank holiday, then the payment is made earlier, according to rules.

Watch: What is Universal Basic Income?

It comes after the £20 weekly increase to UC, which was brought in last April to help people on low incomes struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic, was withdrawn last Wednesday.

Charities have called on the government to reverse the cut, after Johnson referred to tackling big societal problems in his party conference speech in Manchester.

On Wednesday, homelessness charity Crisis warned the number of renters receiving UC, and in arrears, had shot up by 70% in the past six months.

Chief executive of Crisis, Jon Sparkes, said: “The cold reality of the universal credit cut is forcing people into impossible decisions about whether to turn on the heating, put food on the table for their children or pay the rent.”

Think-tank Resolution Foundation has forecast the £20 cut will disproportionately impact the people Johnson said he wanted to help “level up” in his speech at the Tory conference.

Figures showed Northern Ireland (36%), Wales (35%), West Midlands (34%), Yorkshire and the Humber (34%) and North East (34%) were among the top five regions hit hardest by the cut.

The £20 weekly UC uplift was cut last week. (PA)

Politicians and campaigners warned that many could be pushed into poverty by the cut.

Manchester United footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford spoke out last week, saying that the cut could force families on the breadline to choose between heating and eating this winter.

He said: “The cost of living has definitely increased. You know, people in households are having to decide – it reminds me of my situation when I was younger, to be fair – you’ve got to decide between are you going to eat or are you going to be warm in the house?

“And these are decisions that you don’t want people to go through, never mind children, and, you know, there’s other stuff – there’s the price of fuel and electricity.”

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