A £20 a week uplift in Northern Ireland social security payments, introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, is ending today.

It was brought in across the UK by British Chancellor Rishi Sunak in response to the lockdown.

There are 134,000 claimants of universal credit in Northern Ireland, the main social security benefit, with just over a quarter of them in work.

Many have said they will struggle when the payment is withdrawn, especially in light of recent energy price hikes.

The payment uplift was extended by six months in March but is due to be withdrawn from today.

Political leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all called for the move to be reversed.

It will see benefit for a single person under the age of 25 fall from £79 a week to £59 - a reduction of 25%.

A couple, one of whom is over 25, will see their weekly payment fall by 15% from £137 to £117.

The calculation has been done by an independent think tank - the Resolution Foundation - which focuses on people on low incomes.

Northern Ireland based charities say they've been contacted by people worried about the implications of the benefit cut.

Save the Children NI said many were relying on it for essentials like food and clothing for their children.

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