The government’s decision to end the £20-a-week boost to Universal Credit in the autumn is the news that struggling families have been ‘dreading’, Unite the union said today (Thursday 8 July).

Unite urged the chancellor Rishi Sunak to think again on the proposal that will hit the six million households that receive Universal Credit and has drawn criticism from six former Conservative work and pensions secretaries, including Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of Universal Credit.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “This is the news struggling families have been dreading. This cut will cause so much hardship and despair because that £20 was the difference between heating and eating.  

"It also makes no economic sense to pull cash from the economy at a time when the recovery is fragile.  

"That money is spent locally in our struggling high streets, yet the chancellor is draining support away from them at a time when they, too, need every penny.

“The grim reality is that work doesn’t pay in this country. The chancellor should be focusing on halting the march of poverty pay, not taking £20 from those most at need.

“Even before the pandemic, child poverty was a deeply entrenched problem in the UK – for the government to consign a further 420,000 children to hunger and hardship is a scandal.

“Vulnerable children will suffer.  The chancellor has to think again."


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

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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 Len McCluskey.