Many share fears as Universal Credit is cut
Dozens of members have got in touch to share their fears for the future as the government’s decision to end the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit (UC) becomes a reality today (6). The uplift was originally introduced as a support measure at the beginning of the pandemic.
The cut, which has been consistently opposed by PCS, has been calculated as the biggest single overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the Second World War affecting around 6 million people.
Many PCS members have to claim the benefit because of low pay, compounded by years of below-inflation pay cuts and the current public sector pay freeze. Members have described the impact of the cut; their names have been changed.
Ruth works full-time as an administrative officer at a DWP contact centre, she is struggling to get by.
“Once I get paid and all my outgoings are paid, I have nothing left of my wage until my UC payday. This reimburses a portion of my childcare fees; however, it mostly covers what I have to repay in overdraft/credit card fees, and then petrol and shopping for the rest of the month,” she said.
“I feel like I’m barely keeping my head afloat and losing out on £86 a month is causing me trouble sleeping as the cost of living is continuously increasing. I believe it was our secretary of state that said the £20 a week is a couple of extra hours work per week. I work full-time and have a 1-year-old daughter that I’m the primary carer for. Overtime isn’t available for me. And I’m made to feel ashamed like I’m not doing enough.”
For single parent Susan, who works as part-time as an administrative officer at a benefits centre, the uplift meant she could just about manage.
“I receive UC as I am a single parent and have no childcare. I have had to go part-time/part-year as it was becoming more and more difficult to get annual leave for the school holidays,” she said.
“The extra £20 has been very helpful because of the rising costs of living. The rising costs are ongoing, but the extra help is being stopped.”
Nicola says money is very tight for her.
“Losing this uplift will affect me greatly, the extra £20 a week meant I could pay all the bills and we could all eat. Now I am on my own with 3 children and I have to choose whether I put the heating on or eat,” she said.
“I have had to move into a cheaper house so I can try and reduce my costs but everything is so tight.”
Get in touch
Are you a DWP member? Sharing your story will help us to oppose the ending of the £20 uplift. Contact PCS at email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us how the cut affects you.