UNIVERSAL DIS-CREDIT! Unite Community Day of Action Wednesday 15th July


Replace with a fair system that properly supports in time of need. It affects us all!

 Press release 13th July 2020 

Unite Community Day of Action Wednesday 15th July

Small Socially Distanced Protest will take place at 1230hrs outside Sheffield Town Hall on Pinstone Street

Sheffield Stop and Scrap Universal Credit Campaign will join forces with UNITE Community for this symbolic protest to raise awareness about the total inadequacy of our welfare system and the extreme poverty it causes.

“Our message to the Tories-End Food Bank poverty, Stop Benefit Sanctions and SCRAP UNIVERSAL CREDIT!”

 We demand the Government offset the dramatic falls in income people experienced when being forced to claim UC. Even with the £20 increase to Universal Credit, it is still less than 27% of the National Minimum Wage for over 25s, assuming a 40-hour week. This is supposed to be a wealthy and civilized country but there are millions relying on food aid. One Sheffield foodbank in Arbourthorne reported a 1,000 % increase in demand for food aid since the lockdown. https://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/council/sheffield-food-bank-use-more-1000-cent-lockdown-2851928

We also call on the Government to

  • put a halt to the 5-week delays in benefit payments (and ensure any advanced loans are not repayable)
  • make the £20 additional payments for UC placed on a permanent basis and extend it to those claiming legacy and disability benefits
  • Extend the suspension of benefit sanctions beyond 30th With the economy in tatters and unemployment at record levels people need social support to see us through this crisis.

On the Day of Action on Wednesday 15th July we will be campaigning for a major reform of welfare (which involves the scrapping of UC) and its replacement by a socially just system based on the principles outlined in the TUC Welfare Charter involving decent benefits, employment and training support for claimants, and a sustainable jobs plan such as via the Green New Deal.


Will Boris Johnson and the Tory Government keep to their promise to “level up” living standards? He could start by scrapping Universal Credit and replacing it with a system that actually supports people on low/no income. Millions have been made destitute – hundreds have died! We won’t stop till Universal Credit has been scrapped!”

 Benefit comparisons with other EU countries (basic rates not including other allowances)

Belgium 55 per cent of previous salary for single people
Denmark 90 per cent of previous gross earnings up to a maximum of €2,527 per month
Germany 60 per cent of previous net earnings for those without children
Italy 75 per cent of monthly earnings up to €1,329 per month
Spain 70 per cent of monthly earnings for first 180 days, then 50 per cent
Sweden 80 per cent of reference income for first 200 days, up to maximum €94 a day, then 75 per cent
The Netherlands 75 per cent of last daily wage for two months, then 70 per cent
The UK 17% of average wages or 27% of National Living Wage for those over 25 year old  (£409.89 per month)*

Source: TUC https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/tuc-calls-emergency-boost-universal-credit-help-people-through-coronavirus-outbreak

*This is based on TUC figures. Comparison with other EU countries is problematic because other EU nations pay benefits as a percentage of the claimant’s previous income whilst in the UK it is a set rate.

It can also be expressed as a percentage of the Living Wage:

The National Minimum Wage is £8.20p per hour (under 25s) and £8.72 (over 25s)

The Real Living Wage is £9.30 per hour (£10.75p in London)

Even with the £20 increase to Universal Credit, it is still less than 27% of the National Minimum Wage for over 25s, assuming a 40-hour week.

Note for editors:

Please contact Martin Mayer for comment on 0776 1078482. He can also arrange for comment from other organisations involved in this protest e.g. UNITE Community, Disabled People Against Cuts etc.