A new survey from the shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw finds that 57% of workers in receipt of Universal Credit and other state benefits are struggling to pay vital household bills, including gas and electric bills.
80% of over 8,000 Usdaw members surveyed in January this year said they would be “worried” or “very worried” if the Government removed the £20 weekly uplift.
The union has joined a mounting chorus of charities, organisations and others who are urging the Chancellor to “do the right thing in the Budget this Wednesday 3 March, by listening to low-paid workers who are struggling to make ends meet.”
It has been rumoured in the press that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will extend the weekly £20 boost for a further six months in this week’s budget (Wednesday), but critics are demanding that the increase be made permanent.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “It is unacceptable that nearly 6 in 10 workers on Universal Credit are struggling to heat their homes.
“Usdaw is calling on the Chancellor to use the Budget to guarantee the £20 weekly uplift and tackle long standing issues with the Universal Credit system.
“The uncertainty over the weekly uplift is causing unnecessary anxiety for millions of low-paid workers.
“Usdaw is urging the Chancellor to recommit to the £20 uplift in this Wednesday’s Budget and in the longer term engage with trade unions and charities to fix the ongoing structural issues with Universal Credit.
“Usdaw has consistently called for the rollout of Universal Credit to be halted, to allow a full review and overhaul of how the Government supports the incomes of working people who are already struggling to make ends meet.
“We need a proper social security system that supports families, particularly during this appalling pandemic.”
Usdaw’s cost of living survey of over 8,000 members was conducted during January this year. 9% of respondents are on Universal Credit, with a further 22% receiving other forms of benefits.
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK’s fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Most of their members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.