Chancellor creating a northern poorhouse with universal credit cuts, says UNISON

Nearly 31,000 working people in the North West stand to lose out as government cuts to universal credit work allowances kick in from today (Monday) warns UNISON.

Cuts to universal credit were announced in last July’s 2015 Budget alongside changes to tax credits. While the chancellor backed down over tax credits, the planned reduction in universal credit remains in place.

UNISON calculations, based on the new universal credit work allowance rates, show that low-paid workers in the North West who are single parents, could lose up to £2,600 per year, while a two parent family with children could be worse off to the tune of £1,000 per year. Couples without children could be down over £800 annually.

UNISON’s North West regional secretary Kevan Nelson said: “The chancellor may have beaten a retreat on tax credits but still wants to cut in-work benefits for the low and middle income workers who have already been moved onto the new universal credit benefit.

“Universal credit is meant to help meet the essential needs of families on low incomes who pay every penny of their taxes. It helps them pay the rent and put food on the table, it’s not spare cash they are able to salt away in shady tax havens as others are able to do.

“Today there will be 31,000 people on universal credit losing out in the North West, that’s two in every five of those people to suffer cuts across the country.

“As universal credit is rolled out more people will suffer cuts to their already low incomes. The chancellor is in danger of creating a northern poorhouse, rather than a northern powerhouse.”

Notes to editors:

  • The work allowance is the amount that can be earned each month before universal credit starts to be reduced.

Media contacts:

Peter Urwin T: 0161 661 6720 M: 07950 262 300 E:

Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: