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Reginald Owen as Iain Duncan Smith in 'A Christmas Crisis-loan'.

Reginald Owen as Iain Duncan Smith in ‘A Christmas Crisis-loan’.

Here’s a tale of festive woe from the BBC News website:

More than 32,000 people have not received benefit payments in time for Christmas due to a Department for Work and Pensions “administrative error”.

The cash was due to go into bank accounts on Christmas Eve but will not now be paid until Friday, 27 December.

Most of those affected are first time claimants or people expecting one-off payments such as crisis loans.

The DWP urged them to call the department or a Jobcentre by 5pm to arrange payment within three hours.

A spokesman said the problem had only affected a “limited number” of claimants, totalling 32,200.

“The vast majority of regular benefit payments have been made on time this Christmas,” the spokesman added.

“However due to an administrative issue, a number of one-off or more irregular payments will now be paid on the 27th December, rather than the 24th.

“We have procedures in place to ensure that anyone who has been affected by this and who contacts us today (24th December) will get their benefits paid, usually within three hours.”

Some of those affected include new claimants waiting for their first payment, those owed arrears, people who have applied for Social Fund crisis loans and “in a very few cases” pension-related arrears.

The categories of benefits affected include Jobseekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Social Fund and pensions.

We could all put a name to that “administrative error”: Iain Duncan Scrooge – I mean, Smith.

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