Cuts to in-work welfare, such as the four-year freeze to working age benefits, means that 60% of British people in poverty live in a household with someone in work. Moving to Universal Credit means that 2.1 million working families will lose an average of a further £1,600 per year.
Speaking at Congress in Brighton, Jeff Broome – Usdaw President said:
“It should go without saying how it is simply unacceptable that in one of the richest countries on the planet, we have children living in poverty. Clearly, for thousands of families, work is not providing a much needed route out of poverty. This is in part caused by the Government’s refusal to tackle poor employment practices, such as zero and short hours’ contracts agency work and bogus self-employment.
“Many people on short hour contracts want to work more hours, but are unable to do so. Families in this type of precarious work need the additional support of in work benefits. However, as a result of Conservative cuts, just as these working practices are becoming more prominent, the financial safety net is being removed.
“This is appalling. Government policy is forcing children in to poverty. The official annual poverty statistics in March of this year showed an increase in child poverty for the second year running. Around 100,000 more children fell into relative poverty last year, taking the total to 4 million. Without serious changes to Government policy, this situation will not improve.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 20% in the 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.
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