Open Letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer

The Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists (ToryWorkers) have sent an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to urge him to reverse cuts to Universal Credit in the forthcoming budget. The letter has been signed by 126 member of ToryWorkers and supported by over 900 more. Over 1000 ToryWorkers actively urge the Chancellor to support workers who are doing the right thing by actively seeking work, finding work and staying in work. The full letter with named supporters is here (Open Letter to the Chancellor) and the text is as follows;

The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP
HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Rd


Dear Mr Hammond,

As you know, the Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists are an affiliated group within the Conservative Party. Our aims and principles are to encourage, advise and warn on matters of Conservative Party Policy which impact on the millions of ordinary workers across the United Kingdom. Much of our work is carried out without the glare of public gaze but on matters of national importance to workers we feel compelled to bring public notice to our position on the implementation of Universal Credit and how this will negatively impact on ordinary workers who are striving to do the right thing, going out to work, often in unfulfilling jobs and in circumstances which blind any notion of work-life balance and family living.

The Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists fully support the broad principle of Universal Credit. Its structure, replacing six different benefits into one and being paid monthly replicates a monthly wage which makes transition into work smoother and when claiming UC whilst in work, compliments a working wage with receipt of benefits. We welcome the introduction of a taper to remove the immediate cut off threshold removing the absurdity of being better off on benefits than in work. It is right that benefits continue when work is found and they are only gradually phased out as wages rise.

We remember well the absolute debacle in the previous Labour administration of introducing tax credits in one year and the extreme angst and hardship of families which followed when they were unwittingly overpaid and faced demands for return of overpayments. We are pleased that the introduction of UC has been phased to avoid the problems faced over the rapid introduction of tax credits, problems which invariably have a negative impact on the recipient and are compounded on the worse off who have little or no resilience for financial shocks.

For this reason, the Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists call on you to reverse cuts made to the welfare budget in 2016 which we maintain are the only way to restore faith in the principle and policy of Universal Credit and properly reward workers for seeking work, getting work and staying in work. Rewarding hard work is at the heart of Conservative values and rewarding those who are in work and in most need is a priority for the Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists.

On its introduction in 2013 there was a great deal of goodwill amongst workers for the new benefit. With real confirmed cases now coming to light of recipients being worse off on UC and delays in payments this goodwill has evaporated.  Only a stimulus of an additional £2 billion into UC will revitalise its original principles, reignite goodwill in the policy and properly reward hard work.

Yours Sincerely

Conservative Workers and Trade Unionists