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Boris Johnson’s pledge to level up won’t mean anything if universal credit is cut, TUC boss warns

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Boris Johnsons pledges to level the country will mean nothing if the government continues its plan to end the 20-per-week increase in universal credit, warned union boss Frances OGrady.

In a keynote address at the annual Congress of Trade Unions (TUC) conference, the secretary general will highlight the impending cut amid growing discontent in Westminster, including from backbench Tory MPs.

It comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid reiterated on Sunday that the government plans to continue removing the hike, insisting it will end as planned at the end of this month.

As recently as last week, reports suggested that an internal Whitehall analysis showed that cutting support could have a catastrophic impact, including increasing homelessness, poverty and the use of food banks. .

Ministers tell us they will level Britain, Ms OGrady will say at the TUC conference in London on Monday.

But leveling means nothing if they freeze workers’ wages, reduce universal credit, and the number of children living in poverty skyrockets.

Insisting that Covid must be a catalyst for real change, she will say: If leveling means anything, it must mean leveling the standard of living. We need an economy that treats everyone with dignity, that rewards hard work, that helps working families and communities thrive.

The TUC General Secretary will also call on ministers to better prepare the country for future economic shocks, in particular the threat posed by the climate crisis, as she warns: Covid will not be punctual.

In her speech, she will highlight the dangers for workers posed by future pandemics, technological disruption and climate change, stating: for the next five, ten, twenty years, it is clear that economic shocks will end. intensify and intensify in and around the UK. the world.

She will add: the Covid will not be one-off. Years of austerity have taken their toll. And that meant we fought this pandemic with one hand tied behind our back.

The UK needs to be better prepared for the crises to come and they are coming. Climate chaos is already here and the longer we delay reaching net zero, the more disruptive it will be.

In times of anxiety, workers demand safety. We must build an economy that can withstand shocks and help working families face the future with confidence.

After a wave of recent supply chain disruptions and severe warnings that food shortages in supermarkets and restaurants are permanent, OGrady will also demand better conditions for workers.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) group has previously warned that labor shortages behind shortages on shelves and restaurants could last up to two years, without urgent government intervention.

Ministers may wonder how to protect supply chains and fill vacancies, OGrady will say. Well, here is a new idea that allows this industry to offer decent terms, direct jobs and a proper pay raise.

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