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Removal of the Universal Credit £20 uplift is piling pressure on low-paid families who are struggling to make ends meet, says Usdaw

Date: 07 July 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw has expressed deep disappointment with today’s confirmation, by the Work and Pensions Secretary, that the £20 uplift in Universal Credit will end in September, despite widespread opposition.
A survey by Usdaw found that 57% of workers on Universal Credit are struggling to pay their gas and electric bills. 80% said they would be worried or very worried if the Government removed the £20 weekly uplift. Usdaw again urges the Government to do the right thing by listening to low-paid workers who are struggling to make ends meet.
Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “It is unacceptable that nearly 6 in 10 workers on Universal Credit are struggling to heat their homes. Usdaw again calls on the Government to retain the £20 weekly uplift and tackle long standing issues with the Universal Credit system. Now is not the time to be removing this lifeline for low-paid workers and their families.
“Usdaw has also consistently called for the rollout of Universal Credit to be halted, to allow a full review and overhaul of how the Government supports the incomes of working people who are already struggling to make ends meet. We need a proper social security system that supports families, particularly during this appalling pandemic.”
Usdaw has long called for a fundamental reform of Universal Credit, including:
  • £20 additional weekly uplift made permanent.
  • Five week wait scrapped, by making advance payments non-repayable.
  • Two-child limit immediately removed so that welfare payments take all dependent children in a household into account when granting a claim.
  • Reducing the taper rate and increasing the work allowance to incentivise work.
  • Benefit Cap stopped.
  • Universal Credit payments, or at least the child elements of Universal Credit, paid to the main carer by default. This was a commitment made by the government in January 2019, but has still not yet been introduced. This has become even more urgent with the rise in domestic violence since the start of the pandemic. 
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
Usdaw’s cost of living survey of over 8,000 members was conducted during January this year. 9% of respondents are on Universal Credit, with a further 22% receiving other forms of benefits.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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