CAMPAIGNERS braved rain to protest against planned cuts to benefit payments in Barnsley.

Protestors from Barnsley Trades Union Council and Unite Community took part in the socially-distanced demonstration outside the JobCentre Plus at Cooper House, Peel Street, on Saturday.

It was part of a national day of action which saw trade unionists, members of Unite Community and Disabled People Against Cuts hold similar protests across the country.

The government is proposing to withdraw a £20-a-week ‘uplift’ to Universal Credit, introduced at the start of the pandemic to help claimants through the period.

George Arthur, secretary of BTUC, said: “In spite of pouring rain, which deterred a number of supporters from joining in, we thought it was important to be part of a national movement on Saturday to demand that the government protect the poorest people who are suffering so much in the pandemic.

“A £20-a-week uplift was added to the Universal Credit payments to take account of the extra costs for people having to spend more on heating the house, providing for children not able to go to school.

The government plans to remove this in April. This will leave the poorest without a critical lifeline.

“And of course the whole trade union movement has argued that the basic Universal Credit rate is much too low.

“There are very large numbers in Barnsley on this benefit and that is going to increase greatly when the furlough scheme ends.

“BTUC is very pleased that Barnsley Council has passed a motion calling on the government to reverse its plans to remove the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.”