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Prime Minister gives no comfort to low-paid working families facing the Universal Credit ticking time bomb says Usdaw

Date: 05 October 2016 Shopworkers' trade union leader John Hannett is disappointed that the Prime Minister missed an opportunity to announce reforms to Universal Credit in her keynote speech to the Conservative Party Conference today.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Severe cost cutting has turned the initial intentions of Universal Credit to simplify benefits and improve incentives to work, which we support in principle, into a real threat to the incomes of low-paid working families.

“Although we won the argument on tax credit cuts, forcing a u-turn, Universal Credit is a ticking time bomb that will leave many working families much worse-off when they are transferred onto it.

“Today the Prime Minister needed to announce plans to restore the original purpose Universal Credit of encouraging entry and progression in work. She could have looked afresh at what Universal Credit means in practice for low and middle income earners and get this troubled project back on track to support not penalise working families.

“However the Prime Minister made no mention of Universal Credit. Whilst she has talked about supporting families struggling to make ends meet; she has once again failed to take the necessary action to help them. She seems not to understand that many households living in poverty have someone in work. Much of that stems from the severe cuts imposed under the last Prime Minister, so if we are going to truly have a ‘country that works for everyone’ those deeply damaging policies need to be reversed."

Usdaw’s analysis reveals that a parent couple, both working in retail, earning just above the so-called National Living Wage, one working full-time and one part-time, would be £1,866 worse off on Universal Credit.

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 440,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers