6 October 2021

DWP staff condemn Universal Credit uplift end as “ideological attack” on the poor

The decision to end the Universal Credit uplift will impoverish millions of unemployed and low paid workers, PCS has said.

Universal Credit was uplifted by £20 and extended temporarily for 6 months in March by chancellor Rishi Sunak.

PCS, which represents workers who help claimants access Universal Credit and other benefits, says the Tories are deliberately targeting the poor and vulnerable for ideological reasons by ending the uplift.  

Many PCS members working in DWP also rely on Universal Credit payments to make ends meet due to appallingly low wages.  

Catherine works part-time in a DWP service centre and is worried about the effect of the cut on her family.   

She said: “Myself and my partner both claim Universal Credit and work for DWP (he is full time). We have 2 children in primary school and use breakfast club on the days I work, we do claim childcare costs back for this for which we get about £40 a month back at 85%. 

“We will now need to find the money for this elsewhere as it’s likely with the reduction in our UC award we will no longer get this help. I also struggle to find the money for school dinners, which is £76 every six weeks and will double next year when the youngest moves to junior school.” 

Anne, an executive officer in a jobcentre, said: “I work 32.5 hours a week and qualify for UC due to low income. This is going to hit myself very hard, with prices of everything, including household bills rising.” 

“I’m looking to make changes to put myself out of hardship financially. I have had a tough time financially due to personal circumstances.” 

Research, by Professor Jonathan Bradshaw and Dr Antonia Keung at the University of York, has found that 840,000 people have fallen into fuel poverty, following energy price increases on 1 October.  

3.4 million households - or 6.3 million adults and children - will not be able to pay rising gas and electricity bills this winter without cutting their food spending and more than six million people are facing fuel poverty this winter.  

Responding to the uplift being scrapped, Mark Serwotka said: "The scrapping of the Universal Credit uplift is a scandalous decision driven by an ideological opposition to supporting the most vulnerable in society. 

“Unemployed and low paid workers both need access to Universal Credit to make ends meet and by removing the uplift, thousands will be plunged into dire poverty with people having to potentially choose between buying food and heating their homes this winter.  

“There needs to be a fundamental overhaul of the social security system where no one is left behind regardless of their circumstances.”