1 October 2021

How Universal Credit cut hits PCS members

Our DWP members have been sharing with us how the £20 a week cut in Universal Credit will have a devastating impact on them and their families.

The government has decided to end the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit (UC) from 6 October. The uplift was originally introduced as a support measure at the beginning of the pandemic.

Members have described the impact of the cut; their names have been changed.

Catherine is an administrative officer who works part-time in a DWP service centre, she is worried about the effect of the cut on her family.  

“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%,” she said.

“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.

“We are also both in a large amount of debt so are already struggling financially to pay back loans and credit cards.”

Anne, an executive officer in a jobcentre, will be hit hard by the loss of the uplift.

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

Children will suffer

Single parent, Joanne, works part-time as DWP contact centre administrative officer. She fears she won’t be able to heat her house this winter because of the cut to UC.

“I, like most, have come to rely on the extra money, and will now struggle once the money gets reduced, £80 a month is a lot of money to lose. It pays for things like school uniforms and school lunches. I think it will cause people to be in debt, and the ones that will suffer will be the children,” she said.

“It will have a big impact on what I can afford for myself and my son, it is also an expensive time of year, with all the utility bills increasing. I rent an old house, with no insulation or double glazing so my heating bill is high every year, with the increases, and a drop in income, I suspect we will be cold this year.”

Are you a DWP member? Sharing your story will help us to oppose the ending of the £20 uplift. Contact PCS at leeds@pcs.org.uk to tell us how you feel about losing the £20. Any information will be kept confidential but we may anonymise some of your testimony and use it in our campaigns and communications.

If you’re a PCS member in another department, email editor@pcs.org.uk to tell us how the cut affects you.