“This cruel policy without a friend outside the cabinet should be ditched without delay.”Steve Turner
By Steve Turner
In six short weeks the Prime Minister’s blunders really will begin to bite. With the end of furlough and the snatch-back of £20 a week from universal credit claimants, September 30th could go down as a very bleak day for Britons.
Trade union leaders have repeatedly called on the government to put people before ideology and not take these heartless decisions, alongside charities and even Conservative MPs.
Furlough, now down to 60 per cent of wage costs, stops altogether on the 30th of September as well. We are not yet out of the pandemic, and with the chaos caused by new variants and a muddled response from the government, thousands are already struggling.
Removing all security from workers now is just too soon, especially as we go into the winter months.
The five week waiting period for Universal Credit will leave families with no income, and forced to rely on food banks and emergency loans once furlough ends. The double-whammy of the £20 reduction will drive these families further into debt.
The impact on our economy, on our communities, is very real. Taxpayer money was used to protect jobs and industries, and we risk wasting that investment now by ending up with the crisis we were trying to avoid in the first place.
For sectors like aerospace, travel and hospitality, furlough is the only stability they have right now. The mess made by the government’s muddled re-opening this summer has hit these sectors hard, and many workers are now on furlough through no fault of their own. Throwing them into poverty now, after all they have been through, is cruel and unnecessary.
The call I am making is don’t ditch it, fix it.
The UK government must do the same as the Germans and keep support in place until the end of the year. It’s cheaper and more sensible all round than sending workers to the dole.
Most people on universal credit are in work, many of them serving on the frontline through this crisis. In-work poverty is a very real problem in this country, as we subsidise employers who underpay their staff. Rishi Sunak should be looking to fix the poverty pay that condemns millions of workers to a hand-to-mouth existence, not throwing even more families into poverty.
Taking £20 off people in need is taking the shoes off children’s feet or the winter coat off their back. Snatching £20 a week won’t just hurt kids and families, it will deprive hard-pressed local high streets like mine in south London of custom. UK plc is struggling as it is, we need to keep the support in place until we are out of the crisis.
With even right-wing Tory MPs urging a change of course, this cruel policy without a friend outside the cabinet should be ditched without delay.
Join us as we stand up and say no to the UC cut and the end of furlough!
- Steve Turner is the Assistant General Secretary of Unite the Union.
- Sign the petition against the UC cut at https://www.change.org/p/boris-johnson-boris-johnson-rishi-sunak-don-t-cut-universal-credit