Members of Unite Community will be staging a protest outside the chancellor Rishi Sunak’s constituency office in North Yorkshire tomorrow (Friday 17 September) over the decision to scrap the £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit  (UC) next month.

Unite said the wealthy chancellor, MP for Richmond in north Yorkshire, will be known as ‘the architect of callousness’ if he does not reverse the decision to end the uplift on 6 October, as this will mean even greater hardship for the millions of families relying on Universal Credit to put food on the table and keep their homes heated this winter as inflation soars to 3.2 per cent.

Unite’s demo will be held outside Rishi Sunak’s constituency office at 11.30 tomorrow (Friday 17 September) Unit 1, Omega Business Village, Northallerton DL6 2NJ.

Unite contrasted the plight of the millions receiving Universal Credit, many of whom work holding down low-paid jobs, with the rich chancellor who has just had plans for a 12-metre pool, gym and tennis court approved at his Grade 11-listed constituency home.

Unite Community organiser for Yorkshire and the North East Heather Blakey said: “We are now a fortnight away from this devastating cut. Our members, and the many claimants we meet every day, are terrified of how they will make ends meet.

“The cost of living has gone through the roof since the increase was brought in at the start of the pandemic, so if Universal Credit is cut in two weeks, as Rishi Sunak plans, people will not just be back where they were before Covid - they will be much worse off.

“People tell us they will have to choose between feeding themselves and feeding their children. They won’t be able to pay the bills. This cut will plunge people already living on the breadline further into poverty. It will also take millions out of our local economies, a double whammy for small businesses and precarious workers already struggling to get by.

“And never forget that two million more people – many of them disabled – living on the old-style benefits who never even got this increase in the first place. They already know how impossible it is to live without the £20-a-week.

“The contrast between the lavish new swimming pool and tennis court for the chancellor’s palatial Grade-11 listed home and some his Richmond  constituents making the dreadful decision ‘to eat or heat’ could not be greater – it is a snapshot of two different countries. Such an image makes a mockery of the much-vaunted ‘levelling up’ agenda.

“Unite Community is taking the message right to Rishi Sunak’s door, because he has the power to change this cruel, short-sighted and callous policy. If Rishi Sunak doesn’t act now, he will be remembered as the chancellor responsible for the biggest financial ‘hit’ to the North and to our poorest families since the war. History will remember him as ‘the architect of callousness’.”

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards. 


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.

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Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.