Union says thousands more public sector workers forced onto Universal Credit

By Barrie Hudson - 12 June 2023


The number of South West public sector workers on Universal Credit has rocketed almost 165 per cent since the start of the pandemic, new GMB analysis shows.

Between late 2019 and the end of 2022, the number of public sector workers in receipt of Universal Credit in the region has risen by 10,681 

GMB union analysis of ONS Labour Force Survey data shows that in the fourth quarter of 2019, 6,486 South West public sector workers were in receipt of Universal Credit. By the fourth quarter of 2022, that number was 17,167 

The findings are revealed in a special report to GMB’s annual Congress, which takes place in Brighton this week.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Secretary, said: “It’s a stain on the honour of our nation so many public sector staff have to rely on working benefits to get by. 

“NHS staff, care workers, school staff and the council workers who keep the South West’s towns and cities alive.  

“Surely these people should be paid enough to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads without relying on Univeral Credit. 

“Instead, the numbers are rocketing. It’s a disgrace. 

“If the past 12 months of industrial action have taught us anything, it’s that people in the South West are refusing to take in-work poverty lying down.  

“Yet this Government doesn’t seem to have learned its lesson.” 


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