Northamptonians who work extra hours vulnerable to next month's Universal credit changes, says former MP

Sally Keeble
Sally Keeble

Some of the most vulnerable people in Northampton will be hit by a double whammy of cuts and benefit changes unless the Government takes action in the budget later this month

This is the warning from Sally Keeble, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Northampton North. She has called for action to make sure that people do not lose out when the controversial Universal Credit programme is rolled out in Northampton in late November.

Universal Credit combines six benefits into one payment. From November it is due to be rolled out for people in Northampton who are already on benefits, but whose circumstances change.

Where this process has already happened elsewhere in the country it has caused problems for many people including an increase in rent arrears, delayed payments, poverty and more people turning to food banks.

“It is urgent that action is taken to support people in Northampton,” Mrs Keeble said.

“Elsewhere in the country advice agencies have been able to help people through the process. But in Northampton advice agencies have been hit by council spending cuts."

Experience elsewhere shows that some people are especially vulnerable to losing out in the roll-out. Small changes to working hours can see Universal Credit payments cut, with delays of five weeks to have them reinstated.

Mrs Keeble said: "These include people who work variable hours and do a lot of extra hours in November, some people on housing benefit and people on some disability benefits.

“The Government has pushed back the date for the final implementation of Universal Credit. But that doesn’t help people who will be affected by next month’s changes.

"We need the Chancellor to announce changes to help them. And we urgently need an easing of the financial pressures on local government, especially here in Northampton."

Mrs Keeble will be working with local agencies and my council colleagues in Northampton North to provide advice and information about the Universal Credit changes.”