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Nia Griffith MP joined Usdaw activists in the House of Commons on their campaign to persuade the Government to change the rules for the new Universal Credit, so that working families who currently claim tax credits will not miss out. Under the Government’s present plans, when Universal Credit replaces tax credits, some working people will only be allowed to keep 24p in every extra pound they earn.

Shopworkers trade union leader John Hannett believes that the huge 76% claw-back of additional earnings from workers on Universal Credit is unfair and a massive disincentive for people to look for ways to increase their income and work their way off benefits altogether.

Nia Griffith MP said: “Usdaw are right to highlight this problem with the Government’s Universal Credit; it is one that I have raised several times in parliamentary debate, but as yet Government have not taken action. I very much hope that Ministers will listen and act before the scheme is fully rolled out. Many working people will be hit hard by losing 76p of tax credit for every additional pound they earn. That will put off claimants from working longer hours and potential second earners from working at all, perpetuating the poverty trap for families on low pay.”

“I was shocked to meet Usdaw members who will be thousands of pounds worse off under Universal Credit, and concerned that thousands of my hard-working constituents would also lose out under the Government’s current plans. I want to hear from people in the Llanelli area about how they will be affected. You can check out your Universal Credit entitlement by visiting www.entitledto.com

“The principle of Universal Credit should be to make it easier for people who are unemployed to move into work, so I am calling on the Government to reduce the net earnings claw-back to 55%, as originally proposed by the Centre for Social Justice, to make work pay and to support hard working families.”

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “We are grateful for the support of Nia Griffith MP. Whilst Universal Credit affects households differently, many of our members working long hours are going to be worse off when they are transferred onto Universal Credit. That loss of income is compounded because they will find it incredibly difficult to make up the shortfall by working longer hours. That is why the claw-back from additional earnings is particularly unfair, trapping households in poverty and creating a disincentive to work. So we want the Government to ensure that work does pay by lowering the claw-back to 55p in the pound.”