Sheffield union boss slams plan to scrap universal credit uplift as 'making the poor poorer'

The secretary of Sheffield’s Trade Union Council is calling on chancellor Rishi Sunak not to scrap the Universal Credit Uplift in September, following a Government announcement of the plan.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 9:28 am

Martin Mayer, Secretary of Sheffield TUC, has slammed the proposal by the Government to scrap the scheme, which was introduced as a measure to help people weather the pandemic by increasing their Universal Credit payments by £20.

Mr Meyer said: “This will push thousands of people in Sheffield who are already struggling into further poverty. For a single person this is a cut from £95 per week to £75 per week.”

There are more than six million people claiming Universal Credit, and many of these claimants are in work.

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Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, plans to scrapp the £20 Covid uplift for those on Universal Credit.

The Universal Credit (UC) claimant count in Sheffield is around 46,000. More than 16,000 are in work and will also be affected by the benefit cuts.

There are 20,525 people on disability related benefits – Employment Support Allowance/ Incapacity Benefits – and 6,820 on Jobseekers Allowance.

Meanwhile, Sheffield City Council has reported a 400 per cent increase in the use of foodbanks in the city.

The TUC says the situation for many people has worsened during the Covid 19 pandemic, and the proposed scrapping of the uplift scheme means “thousands of people who are forced to claim benefits because of rising unemployment are facing poverty and severe financial hardship”.

A TUC spokesperson added: “Two million people on ‘legacy benefits’ have never received the £20 increase, including many disabled people. It is essential that the increase is to be made permanent to all claimants of benefits.

“Universal Credit along with other benefits provides a woefully inadequate income, even taking into account the £20 add on, it is less than 27 per cent of average weekly wage based on a minimum wage – £8.72 an hour for over 25s – at a 40-hour week.

“Cutting the £20 supplement as proposed in September 2021, spells disaster for many families.”

Martin Mayer added: “If he goes ahead with the cut, it will be the biggest ever reduction in benefits – most are new claimants who were never on the previous lower level of universal Credit.”