MORE than 70 towns and cities rallied at the weekend against the Tories’ bid to cancel Christmas for the hundreds of thousands left penniless by universal credit this December.
Unite Community head Liane Groves said Saturday had been “a great success” and that this was “just the start” of the union’s campaign against universal credit.
She warned that “over a million” workers claiming in-work benefits are going to take a financial hit.
“Life is going to get a lot worse for Theresa May’s ‘just about managing’ families and it is Unite’s aim to ensure that these families use their anger at the ballot box and vote out this cruel government,” she said.
Introduction of the new benefits system is causing delays in payments, leaving households with no income for six weeks.
In areas where the system has been introduced use of charity foodbanks has increased by 30 per cent.
Among the actions was a stall run by Leeds and Wakefield union members and supporters singing anti-universal credit carols.
John Coan, Yorkshire and North East organiser of Unite Community, said: “The government’s continued roll-out of this deeply flawed policy risks forcing hundreds of thousands of people into penury and potential homelessness through rent arrears.
“The punitive sanctions regime which has been visited on the disabled and unemployed is also being inflicted on those in receipt of in-work benefits
“Unite Community is calling for an end to all benefit sanctions and the suspension of the roll-out of universal credit.
“Our tireless activists were out in 15 or so towns and cities in the north, standing up for low-paid workers, the disabled and unemployed on Saturday. They braved freezing temperatures to get our message out to the public.”