Families gathered at the East Yorkshire seaside town of Bridlington yesterday (Wednesday 25 August) to send a message with a giant work of beach art imploring chancellor Rishi Sunak to cancel the £20 cut to Universal Credit (UC) in four weeks’ time. 

Drone footage, photographs and quotes from the families who attended the protest are available  (see notes to editors). 

A group of around 80 individuals, made up of families who rely on UC to put food on the table and pay their bills, travelled from across Derbyshire and Yorkshire to help create a giant ‘Cancel the Cut’ message in the sand. The sand art was then washed away by the tide, representing the UC cut scheduled for 30 September.

Two coaches brought the families to Bridlington for ice cream, fish and chips and to take part in the interactive sand drawing event. 

The event was organised by Unite Community and the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centre, with support from Chesterfield food bank Gussie’s Kitchen and Chesterfield borough council’s Labour group.

For some of the children it was their first trip to the seaside, with the £100 adult day return train ticket from Chesterfield to Bridlington highlighting the unaffordable costs of a such a day out for many families. 

The protest comes after a recent Save the Children survey revealed that almost half of Universal Credit claimants (47 per cent) - equivalent to near three million claimants - believe they won’t be able to live on the benefit after the £20 cut in four weeks’ time. 

Department for Work and Pension (DWP) data shows that 40 per cent of those on UC are in work.

Unite regional community coordinator Heather Blakey said: “The message to Rishi Sunak is loud and clear from these families – ‘cancel the cut’.  

“The £20 uplift also needs to be extended to those on legacy benefits.

“Twenty pounds may not seem a lot to the multimillionaire chancellor and his wealthy Tory  colleagues.

“But for families across the UK it is a lifeline that in four weeks’ time will mean the difference between scraping by and going without. 

“It certainly will not help the government’s so-called levelling up agenda.

“As recently as this month, Sunak vowed not to return to the austerity politics that have dominated Tory policies for the last decade. 

“Carrying out this cut would be a clear indication that those vows mean nothing and that the Conservatives intend once again to declare war on the poor.” 

ENDS 

Pictures and drone footage are available here. For more information please contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: [email protected]

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.