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Under-30s Will Be "Hardest Hit By Cuts To Universal Credit"

Labour analysis seen by BuzzFeed News claims that young workers are going to be disproportionately affected by cuts set to be introduced on 1 April.

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Under-30s will be disproportionally affected by welfare cuts that will see those on universal credit lose £865 a year from April, according to analysis by the Labour party.

The research, seen by BuzzFeed News, found that two-thirds of all universal credit claimants who are in work are aged between 16 and 29.

Although the chancellor was forced to make a U-turn on cuts to tax credits last year after a Tory rebellion, many young people who previously received tax credits were transitioned over to the universal credit system because they didn't have any children and so their cases were easier to deal with.

This has resulted in there being a disproportionate number of under-30s on universal credit, according to Labour analysis of the Department for Work and Pensions' statistics. There are 63,312 universal credit claimants who are in work, 40,391 of whom are aged between 16 and 29.

The Labour research revealed that when cuts to universal credit take effect from April, a single working person who is on universal credit and doesn't have any children will receive around £865 less a year compared with what they would receive if they were on tax credits.

The scrapping of work allowances for those on universal credit is one of the legacies of former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned from his role on Friday in protest at cuts to disabled people.

From April, the work allowance, which is the amount you can earn before your benefits are reduced, will be abolished entirely for childless universal credit claimants.

In the longer term, these cuts will affect 2.6 million people, who will lose an average of £1,600 a year, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

This is because despite a U-turn by George Osborne on cuts to tax credits, these claimants will eventually transition on to the universal credit system anyway. The IFS estimates that 1.9 million people would also be better off under the new system.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith told BuzzFeed News the cuts next month would "hammer young workers."

He said: "From April, over 40,000 young workers will see a huge immediate fall in their incomes. This is yet another kick in the teeth for young people, on top of a jobs market that is already too often stacked against them and the fact that we are going through a Tory decade of record low pay."

A spokesperson for the DWP told BuzzFeed News that universal credits claimants have access to other funds, such as those to help pay for childcare.

"Universal Credit is revolutionising welfare, with claimants moving into work faster and earning more than under the previous system," a spokesperson said.

"As part of moving to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society we are simplifying the work allowances under UC and giving people extra help to progress in work."

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at siraj.datoo@buzzfeed.com.

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