Union's anger over police cuts and Universal Credit crisis

Usdaw has chosen Blackpool for its annual conference for many years
Usdaw has chosen Blackpool for its annual conference for many years
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The shopworkers’ union has called for an end to the roll-out of Universal Credit and a boost to police funding.

Hundreds of Usdaw delegates were in Blackpool over the bank holiday for their annual conference at the Winter Gardens. The union has pledged to keep its annual four-day event in the resort until 2024, offering an ongoing boost to local businesses.

At this year’s meeting, general secretary Paddy Lillis said Universal Credit was forcing people into hardship.

He said: “There is no longer any room for doubt, Universal Credit is a system entirely unfit for purpose. It is causing misery for millions of people across the country.

“The failings of Universal Credit has already been highlighted by various organisations, the Trussell Trust has found that Universal Credit has led to a four-fold increase in the use of foodbanks where it is rolled out. The National Housing Federation has shown that Universal Credit has caused three times as many people to get behind with their rent.

“This needs to stop now. Tweaks around the edges aren’t enough. A fundamental overhaul is needed.”

The union also blasted the Conservatives’ £2.7bn cuts to police funds since 2010, saying it was deeply concerned about a 14 per cent increase in offences it blamed on the reduction in the number of police officers.

Mr Lillis said: “Too much of our society is blighted by crime not being tackled, whether that is anti-social in our neighbourhoods, or unacceptable abuse and violence against retail workers and other workers just trying to do their job. Recorded crime is rising at the fastest rate in a decade.”