Unite members stage protest in Pudsey calling for £20 Universal Credit cut to be cancelled

A protest was staged in Pudsey today in support of the campaign to cancel the planned £20 per week cut to Universal Credit.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 8:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 8:28 pm

Members of the Unite community led the protest and say there was "an enthusiastic take-up" of people signing the petition against the cut, as well people completing postcards to be sent to local Conservative MP, Stuart Andrew.

The protest was set up opposite the bus station.

More than 5,000 people are on Universal Credit in Mr Andrew's constituency and 74,000 across the Leeds area as a whole.

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People in Pudsey were keen to support the campaign to cancel cuts to Universal Credit.

A £20 increase to the benefit was made as a result of the pandemic but is due to be withdrawn at the end of September and would lead to deeper poverty for around six million families nationally who receive the benefit.

Gerry Lavery, the Campaigns Co-ordinator of Leeds and Wakefield Branch of Unite Community, said: “Since January, food prices in shops and supermarkets have increased by eight per cent, and food bank use in Leeds has increased significantly. Universal Credit is also one of the lowest out of work benefits in Europe.

“The Government has failed to produce any evidence to justify the cut at a time of great need. We believe the decision is casual and cruel. People on Job Seekers Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance, which is claimed by many disabled people, should also receive the increase.

“The constituency of Pudsey is served by Stuart Andrew MP. He has over 5,000 people in his constituency on Universal Credit, yet his majority is just 3,517. If the cut goes ahead, those on Universal Credit in Pudsey will sink deeper into poverty and will lose a total of over £5m per year.

Unite made its presence known in Pudsey today as it takes a stance on cuts to Universal Credit.

“We call upon Stuart Andrew and other Leeds Conservative MPs to help defend their constituents and local economies by lobbying the Chancellor to oppose this cut and extend the £20 uplift to those on other benefits too. Boris Johnson says he wants to ‘level up’, so let’s see him do that by cancelling the cut to the £20 for a start!”

The Unite Leeds and Wakefield branch set up camp in Pudsey for its protest.
Members of the public signed petitions and postcards rejecting the plan to cut Universal Credit top ups in September.