Usdaw lends a helping hand to working families

Date: 21 March 2012 Usdaw activists will be out in force today campaigning to alert parents and carers to the changes the Government is making to tax credits and other benefits.

With all eyes on today's Budget statement, Usdaw Reps will be running campaign stalls in workplaces, shopping centres and staff canteens up and down the country giving out much needed information about how the changes to benefits will impact on working families.

At the heart of Usdaw's campaign is a call for the Government to postpone cuts to Working Tax Credit that will take nearly £4,000 away from 200,000 families who cannot find extra hours of work. Two thirds of the families affected are already living in poverty and a further 35,000 families with 80,000 children will be pushed into poverty if they lose their Working Tax Credit.

Many campaign stalls are being visited and supported by local MPs, MSPs, AMs, MLAs and councillors who are backing Usdaw's campaign against the cuts to tax credits and other benefits.

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:

"We know that many thousands of our members are worried about their family's finances and the Union has a vital role to play in offering clear guidance about benefit and tax credit changes and where to go for further help and advice."

"The forthcoming change to Working Tax Credit, that requires couples with children to increase their hours of work from 16 to 24 to remain entitled to help, will be devastating for many of our members. Usdaw is deeply concerned that this cut and other changes to benefits will increase child poverty and the Union firmly believes that when times are tough we should be protecting the money we spend on children."

Notes for Editors:

1. Key campaign events are taking place in the following locations; Croydon Town Centre; Warrington Town Centre; Ipswich Buttermarket Centre; Gateshead Metro Centre; Tesco Extra, Yardley in Birmingham; Tesco Extra in Redditch; Tesco Superstore in Dunfermline, Tesco Extra in Newport Gwent; Tesco Extra Brent Park in London; Sainsbury's Alperton, Wembley in London. For further details of these and other events please contact the press office.

2. Further details of Usdaw's Parents & Carers Spotlight Day can be found at:

3. The table below summarises the main changes to tax credits and benefits taking place in April:




Increase tax allowance by £630 (£256 over RPI x 20%)

0 to

+ £186

All basic rate taxpayers earning over £7,850 gain

Family element of Tax Credit abolished for middle earners

- £545

Lost if income is over £25,000 (1 child)/ £32500 (2 children)/£39000 (3 children)

50+ element of Tax Credits abolished

-£1320 or

- £1965

People working 16 - 29 hours per week

People working over 30 hours per week

Couples' Working Tax Credit based on 24 not 16 hrs pw


- £3,870

Couples with children unable to increase hours of work to 24 per week lose all WTC

Working Tax Credit frozen

Basic & 30 hour elements

- £197 or

- £278

Low wage earners working under 30 hours

Low wage earners working over 30 hours

Working Tax Credit frozen

Couples/lone parent element

- £101

All low-middle wage earners claiming Working Tax Credit

Child Benefit frozen

- £100 &

- £ 70

For first child up to 16 or 19 if in FT Ed

Also -£70 for each other child

Benefits & tax credits to rise by CPI, not RPI

Up to

- £200

Households lose out by around 4% of all benefits - up to around £200

4. Usdaw (the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 20% in the last six 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.

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