Protest held in Lancaster over £20 Universal Credit cut

Campaigners gathered on Saturday to fight cuts to Universal Credit, low pay and rising poverty in Lancaster and Morecambe.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:11 am
The protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.
The protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.

With chants of "2,4,6,8 – we want food on our kids' plates", Lancaster’s Market Square was filled with local people protesting against the £20 per week cut to Universal Credit.

They heard speeches from members of the public affected by the cut, as well as from anti-poverty campaigners, trades unionists and city councillors.

Many passing shoppers also stopped to listen and express their support for the cause.

The protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.

The national president of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, Ian Hodson, made a passionate call for low paid workers to join unions where they can fight for a better deal.

He explained how workers are on Universal Credit because of the scandal of low pay, while the companies they work for make large profits. He said food workers can spend all day producing food, but still struggle to feed their families.

Other speakers - which included Lizzi Collinge, Labour county councillor for Lancaster East, and Joanna Young, Citizens' Advice volunteer and Green Party city councillor - expressed fury at rising household energy bills whilst the privatised ‘big six’ energy companies have extracted billions in profits.

The rally ended with a protest song against the cut from a local busker, to cheers from the public.

Joanna Young speaks at the protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.

The campaigners pledged to fight on, saying this was just the start.

On October 6, the government will remove the £20 uplift to Universal Credit, which has been a lifeline to many families through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The cut will affect 13,500 people in the local area, with 60 per cent of those in receipt of Universal Credit being working families.

The protest was timed to coincide with the Conservative Party Conference, taking place this year in Manchester.

The protest against the removal of the £20 Universal Credit uplift on Saturday.
The protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.
The protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.
The protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.
The protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.
The protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.
The protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.
Joanna Young speaks at the protest against government plans to remove the £20 Universal Credit uplift.
Protesters in Market Square on Saturday.