SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone has written to Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey, to seek protections for people who applied for Universal Credit in the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Mid Ulster MLA said, “I had become aware of a significant number of cases where people in employment and receiving Tax Credits, found that entirely due to the pandemic, their employer informed them there was no work. As this was a few days before the Job Retention Scheme was announced, the only option was to apply for Universal Credit to give them some support. While the employee has since been furloughed the outcome is that, with no other change in their circumstances, they now have less income from Universal Credit than they previously had via the Tax Credits system.
“This is largely down to the delay in announcing the Job Retention Scheme and a lack of clarity from HMRC about the impact of being furloughed on tax credits. While some confusion is understandable given the challenging context, it is unacceptable that people should pay the price for it.
“I have asked the Minister for Communities to urgently look at the introduction of transitional mitigation measures to cover such exceptional circumstance and ensure that people with their families do not find themselves worse off in these difficult times.”