Huge banner unveiled at Chesterfield's Casa Hotel in Universal Credit £20 top up protest

A protest has taken place outside a prominent Chesterfield hotel urging the Government to cancel proposed benefit cuts.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 4:23 pm

Derbyshire people were among hundreds of community campaigners from across the UK today urging their MPs to get behind calls to cancel the cut to Universal Credit and extend a £20 weekly uplift to all claimants.

Campaigners descended on the town’s Casa Hotel to call on Derbyshire county councillors to add their influence to the campaign as they met for a full council meeting at the venue.

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The protest outside Chesterfield's Casa Hotel.

Andy King, secretary of the Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Branch of Unite Community, said: “If the Chancellor presses ahead with plans to cut the £20 Universal Credit top up at the end of September, just as the furlough scheme is also due to end, thousands of local people are at risk of being pushed into deeper debt and poverty overnight.

“A warm home and food are not luxuries but for the six million people now relying on Universal Credit to get by, the £20 uplift is literally the difference between heating and eating.

“With poverty in working households at a record high this century and the savage and sharp rise in unemployment during the pandemic, it would be mistake to take this money, about £1,040 a year, out of people’s pockets and from our high streets.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak Mr Sunak has said the uplift was part of ‘things we put in place to deal with the crisis’ of the pandemic, adding ‘those things will come to an end, much like the furlough scheme’.