Say NO to the proposed £20 per week cut to Universal Credit
Fight for £20 more for claimants on legacy benefits
Disabled People Against Cuts, Homes For All Campaign and People Before Profit are calling a National Day of Action to fight plans to scrap the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.
The government increased Universal Credit by £20 per week at the start of the pandemic, when nearly two million more claimants came onto the benefit, exposing the social security system to greater scrutiny.
Now, while the pandemic is still raging, they are planning to take the £20 uplift away. This seems particularly cruel and unnecessary, especially when Johnson found enough money for a £16 in defence funding in November.
Many claimants never got the £20 uplift in the first place. It was only applied to Universal Credit so those still on legacy benefits and not yet moved over to Universal Credit were missed out. Many of these are disabled and their living costs have been significantly higher as a result of the pandemic and needing to shield.
Out of work benefits in the UK are well below the amount needed for a decent standard of living. All benefits need to be significantly increased, not cut.
We need people to be properly supported in these difficult times. The benefits system needs a complete overhaul. The Universal Credit system doesn’t work – it has been proven be toxic and massively harmful.
As well as fighting for a permanent uplift – we must fight for it to be scrapped and replaced with a social security system that provides a genuine safety net for all that need it.
The free school meals saga shows that when people fight back the Tories can be pushed into U-turns.
We understand that many people are still unable to leave their homes and we are NOT asking anyone to put their lives at risk or to break social distancing guidelines.
We are asking people to do just whatever you can to build support for this issue and to let claimants know there is a fightback they can get involved with.
If you are a member of a union branch or a local campaign please ask them to support the day of action on 6th February.
Here are a few ideas for what you can do:
– Take and share selfies on the day using the hashtags #20More4All and #NoCutsToBenefits.
– Put a poster in your window. You can download one here [to be added later] or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to post you one.
– Write to your MP to tell them why we need the uplift. There is a template letter you can use below – remember to include information about the issue personally affects you as MPs respond better to personal rather than blanket letters.
– Make your own banners for local banner drops that can be done without breaking social distancing guidelines.
– Use your local media to raise awareness of the issue.
Dear [insert name of MP]
I am writing to ask you as my MP to oppose the proposed cut to Universal Credit by £20 per week. This represents more than one fifth of income that claimants depend on for essentials such as food and heating.
Many claimants who have not yet been moved on to UC missed out on the £20 uplift when it was introduced in March. This is despite the fact that many of those claimants are disabled with underlying health conditions and their expenditures have significantly increased as a direct result of the pandemic and the need to shield for almost a year now.
I ask also that you support the extension of the £20 uplift to legacy benefits.
This personally affects me because… [insert]
Keeping and extending the uplift would have substantial economic and social benefits. These same outcomes will not be realised by the one-off for that has been suggested by the Chancellor as an alternative and to which claimants who have not yet been moved onto UC will be exempt.
UK social security payment levels represent only a relatively small percentage of the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). This is the amount calculated by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation as what is needed for an acceptable standard of living. After the uplift, UC payments are just 43.4% of the MIS.
For those still on legacy benefits, as they have been throughout the pandemic, the amount they continue to receive in benefits represents just 33.9% of the MIS.
One impact of an inadequate income is that it pushes people further from employability: online access, the kind of nutrition able to sustain concentration and the ability to stay clean and presentable for interviews all require a level of income that is not achievable if the £20 per week cut takes place.
Keeping and extending the £20 uplift is vitally important to prevent greater poverty, debt and misery and to help those currently out of work to find employment.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,[name] [address]