THOUSANDS of people on universal credit may not be paid over the festive season or may get a reduced payment.

The investigation by the BBC Money Box programme has calculated that thousands of the 67,000 people who claim the benefit while working – and who are paid weekly – will be affected over the Christmas period.

It will happen due to an anomaly, which means there will be five paydays in December, pushing their monthly income into a higher bracket and leading to payments being automatically stopped or reduced. Some will have to reapply to ensure that their benefits start being paid again in the new year. The UK Government defended the system, saying the majority were unaffected.

Universal credit merges six benefits for working-age people into one new payment, which is reduced gradually as you earn more.

Leading academics have claimed that Conservative Government's benefit policy, which has included sanctions for those judged not to have met conditions that entitle them to welfare, has led to 120,000 excess deaths since 2010 when the party first came into power in coalition.

Last week Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told Prime Minister's Questions that hundreds of families have been issued with eviction notices by a landlord concerned about the impact of universal credit.