Households set to lose £20 per week of Universal Credit

From the start of October, the UK Government plans to cut £20 per week from every household’s Universal Credit award. This will be the biggest overnight cut to social security payments since the Second World War, and will have a huge impact on families – whether they are in or out of work.

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit, it is important that you are aware that your payments will be cut. In the meantime, we are supporting the campaign to ‘keep the lifeline’ of £20 a week in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, and to extend the support to anyone in receipt of legacy benefits.

Some of those on Universal Credit have already begun to receive notifications of the impending cut from the Department for Work and Pensions and setting out the date of their final payment prior to the cut taking effect.

Impact on families

This cut will have a significant impact on families, many of whom are already struggling to afford the day-to-day essentials – food, clothes for their children, utilities and household goods.

Over five million households in the UK receive Universal Credit, around 40% of which are ‘in work’ and 44% of which are households with children. This number of people claiming Universal Credit has increased due to the impact of Covid-19, during which many have experienced redundancy, a loss or reduction in earnings, or work is more insecure than it was pre-pandemic – and so have come to rely on this support to help meet household bills. Many of the families who have only started to claim Universal Credit since the outset of Covid-19 when the £20 increase was introduced, will not be aware that this cut is imminent.

Universal Credit is also a lifeline to those working families who rely on the support towards their childcare costs, helping them to afford the childcare they need in order to work.

Cutting £20 a week from already stretched household budgets risks pushing more children into poverty, including many in households where a parent is in work.

Campaigning to ‘keep the lifeline’

We are calling on the Government to keep the lifeline, giving families the stability they need, and to extend it to those who are on ‘legacy’ benefits and who have so far been left out, such as those on Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or Job Seekers Allowance.

You can add your voice to the campaign by writing to your MP, sharing your concerns about the cut and asking them to choose to protect people and families when they need support. For further information, and a template letter which you can use and personalise, visit the Joseph Rowntree Foundation website.

We are here to help

If you are concerned about this cut to Universal Credit or wish to find out more about what financial support you may be entitled to, contact our Family Benefits Advice Service and one of our skilled advisors will be able to give you a personalised calculation. For free, impartial and confidential advice on 028 9267 8200 or email