A RALLY against government cuts to Universal Credit is taking place in Stroud tomorrow (Saturday).
Campaigners will be protesting against the cuts, which will see nearly 6,000 people in the Stroud district lose £20 a week of their income.
Figures show the number of Universal Credit claimants in the district has more than doubled from 2,901 in July last year to 5,762 in July this year *.
Stroud Labour Party and Unite Community will be holding the rally outside the town’s Subscription Rooms at 11.30am to raise awareness of the cuts, amid fears of people falling into debt or poverty.
Stroud Labour leader Doina Cornell said: “The government should be levelling up, not levelling down.
“Forty per cent of Universal Credit claimants are already in jobs, many of whom aren’t aware of the cuts.
“The cut will hit them hard, particularly when combined with increases to food and energy bills, an end to furlough payments and next year’s planned rise to National Insurance contributions.”
Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, backed by 53 community groups, charities, faith groups and unions, warns the cuts threaten to push 700,000 people into poverty.
Unite Regional Community Organiser Brett Sparkes said: “If the government goes ahead with plans to cut £20 a week from Universal Credit at the end of this month, many more families and children will be pushed into even deeper debt and poverty overnight, just as furlough is also due to end.
“Taking this money out of people’s pockets when poverty in working families is at a record high and our economy is still in a very fragile recovery from the pandemic would be a mistake.
“It will mean even more people turning to foodbanks and more parents going without to ensure that their children are fed.
“Surely, as a society, we are better than this. No-one should be left behind.”
* Figures fromshow the number of Universal Credit claimants in the district has more than doubled from 2,901 in July last year to 5,762 in July this year.
Stroud District Council does not administer Universal Credit, but was able to provide the figures about the benefit, which is administered by the Department of Works and Pensions.