Universal Credit cuts will plunge over 100,000 NI households into poverty

Advice NI highlights that 116,000 households in receipt of Universal Credit face poverty and hardship if the Government presses ahead with plans to cut £20 per week from October 2021.

Kevin Higgins, Head of Policy Advice NI said:

“Based on statistics provided by the Department for Communities, the proposed £20 cut to Universal Credit will impact on families with children which make up 42% of households in receipt of Universal Credit, so this cut will directly impact on the lives and prospects of children. Of course the impact is compounded by a decade of austerity which has included a benefit freeze and the 2 child cap which has already disproportionately impacted on families with children.”

“In addition, the assertion by Government that it wants to focus on jobs as a route out of poverty does not deal with the issue and in fact demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of Universal Credit. Claimants are not a homogeneous group of people. For example, 40% of households in receipt of Universal Credit have ‘No Work’ requirements, for example they are severely ill or indeed terminally ill, and so unfortunately work is not an option for them and so is not a solution to the £20 cut.”

“Quite simply, as we move towards winter and escalating food and fuel costs, Advice NI is calling for the Government to retain the £20 and make it permanent.”

Advice NI pointed out the impact of the cut across Northern Ireland.  See below example of numbers of Universal Credit claimants impacted per area.  (Other figures can be obtain in the link in the NOTES)

  • Belfast
    • Andersonstown 4,430
    • Falls Road 3,810
    • Holywood Road 5,860
    • Knockbreda 4,740
    • North Belfast 7,100
    • Shaftesbury Sq 4,270
    • Shankill 2,690
  • Foyle 7,110
  • Lisnagelvin 4,080
  • Newry 6,020
  • Strabane 3,080

If you need help and support, contact Advice NI on Freephone 0800 915 4604 or Email advice@adviceni.net . Alternatively contact your local independent advice provider, contact details available on https://www.adviceni.net/local-advice


  1. Press Contact - Kevin Higgins, Head of Policy, Advice NI on 028 9064 5919
  2. Advice NI is the umbrella body for the Independent Advice Network in Northern Ireland. In 2019/2020 Advice NI and its members dealt with 540,983 enquiries, the majority being social security benefits related.
  3. To find out more about the work of the Independent Advice Network or to obtain copies of the various publications produced by Advice NI, please contact us on 028 90 645919, email comms@adviceni.net or visit our www.adviceni.net
  4. Data for Universal Credit claimants in NI
  5. #KeepTheLifeline, @AdviceNI to the fore in resisting £20 cut to #UniversalCredit

  6. Part of Open Letter to PM here ... https://jrf.org.uk/press/keep-the-lifeline-open-letter-to-the-prime-minister

  7. Read again here ... https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-58392591

  8. Listen again here ... https://bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000z64j ... from 50.35


    UC (Extension of Coronavirus Measures) Regs (NI) 2021 extend uplift to standard monthly allowance of UC up to 5 Oct