WHEN: Wednesday 29 November 2017, 13:00
WHERE: Old Palace Yard, Westminster, SW1P 3JY
Tomorrow (Wednesday 29 November) Labour MPs will join Unite Community members to call on the government to stop and fix the problems with Universal Credit before rolling it out any further across the UK.
Christmas will be cancelled for thousands of families claiming the government’s new all-in-one benefit Universal Credit as they’re forced to use food banks and struggle to heat their homes or even face eviction because of the long wait for money to come through.
Labour MPs will join dozens of Unite Community members in Christmas hats on Old Palace Yard to pose for photos with a ‘Fix Universal Credit’ banner to send a message to the Tories that their cruel benefits regime is directly to blame for Christmas misery for thousands of families this year.
There will be carol singing with songs taken from the Christmas crisis carol song book, written by Unite Community members. Each song has the words changed to highlight the despair of people claiming benefits over the Christmas period.
Improvements made to the new system that were announced in last week’s budget will not come into place until February 2018 including the elimination of a seven-day waiting period so the first payments come within five weeks rather than six.
Liane Groves, head of Unite Community, said: “Despite knowing that Universal Credit causes serious problems for those claiming it, the government is ploughing ahead with rolling it out regardless.
“Desperate claimants are descending into debt, relying on food banks and getting into rent arrears and in many cases getting evicted from their homes because of in-built problems with it.
“Thousands of families will be facing utter misery over Christmas this year. Theresa May promised her government would be on the side of ordinary families, instead she is behaving like Scrooge.”
For more information please contact Unite campaigns officer Jody Whitehill on 07768 693956. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065
Notes to editors:
The new benefit, which is replacing six benefits – child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance and working tax credit – will affect seven million households.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.