Rugby group joins national day calling for universal credit to be scrapped

Members of Rugby TUSC organised the stall in the town centre on August 1.
Members of Rugby TUSC organised the stall in the town centre on August 1.

Universal credit is a failed system and it must be scrapped – that was the message of a Rugby group who held a day of action against the benefit last week.

On August 1 Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) took part in a Unite union national day of action against universal credit.

TUSC organised a stall outside Asda and Pete McLaren, spokesperson for TUSC, said: “We had a very successful time at the protest on Thursday.

“People were only too happy to sign the Unite petition to abandon universal credit, and our leaflets were accepted enthusiastically.

“A number of people were keen to tell us of their own experiences of being transferred onto universal credit in Rugby.

“Typical was the story told us by one middle aged woman who had to wait three months for her first universal credit payment, meaning she had no money to feed herself or her children. As she said, she was fortunate in that she had elderly parents to rely on - many claimants don’t.”

TUSC called on Rugby MP Mark Pawsey to support scrapping the system.

Mr Pawsey was unavailable for comment, but a spokesperson said one will be provided very shortly.

Rugby was one of the five boroughs where universal credit was rolled out in 2016.

Under the scheme, six different types of benefits are being rolled into one monthly payment, including jobseekers allowance and working tax credit.

The Trussell Trust, which runs many food banks (including Rugby’s), has previously attributed significant rises in demand for food banks to the rollout of universal credit – and critics argue that the five-week wait for the first UC payment can lead to rent arrears and homelessness.

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey previously urged any resident experiencing problems with universal credit to contact him.