Families on Universal Credit are to lose the £20 a week uplift money awarded in April 2020 which represents a 20% reduction in the money to pay rent, council tax, utility bills and feed their families. UK welfare payments and state pensions are the lowest in Europe.

With the £20 uplift, a single claimant on Universal Credit over the age of 25 receives £411.51 per month, or £94.96 per week. The average weekly wage is £585.20 (Institute for Fiscal Studies).

Some argue that the £20 uplift should be discontinued, given the easing of the pandemic and that people should return to work rather than remain on universal credit. However, many people on Universal Credit actually work but have low incomes.

Much of the £20 per week is spent on food and essentials and withdrawal would increase the use of food banks and be a loss to the local economy (The Trussell Trust's recent report 'Dignity or Destitution').

York Unite Community demands that the £20 per week be extended indefinitely and extended to those on 'legacy benefits'. This group includes many disabled people and those on Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and they have had no increase in their benefits throughout the pandemic.

There will be a day of action on Monday, July 19, in Parliament Street, with an information stall, a petition and postcards to send to your MP, asking them to change the Chancellor's decision and support the retention and extension of the £20 uplift.

Gwen Vardigans (on behalf of Unite Community Branch York), Carron Crescent, York