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Key workers struggling with a cost of living crisis must be questioning if the recognition they received was worth it says Usdaw

Date: 03 May 2022 Retail trade union Usdaw is today launching their cost of living survey of over 6,500 workers, which clearly demonstrates the deterioration in living standards many working people have experienced, as well as the urgent need for Government action.
Key findings from Usdaw’s cost of living survey are:
  • Two-thirds have relied on borrowing to pay their everyday bills, with around half of them struggling with repayments.
  • 82% of working parents feel worse off now than they did last year, ore than a quarter of all parents have missed meals in the last year to pay bills.
  • Two-thirds are significantly cutting down on heating in order to cope. Shockingly, a quarter will no longer use the heating at all.
The full report is available at: www.usdaw.org.uk/COLsurvey
Speaking from the Usdaw annual conference in Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Key workers were rightly praised for their incredible contributions throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. However, their heroic efforts appear to have been quickly forgotten and they must be asking themselves, was it worth it? Having worked throughout, risking their health and too often facing abuse from customers; many key workers are still struggling in low-paid insecure employment and now face a growing cost of living crisis.
“Wages are now lower in real terms than in 2008 and insecure work remains prevalent. The energy price cap rise has pushed many household budgets to the limit. As food prices rise, household budgets are being stretched, many workers are now being driven into debt to pay everyday bills. Worryingly, food bank usage has more than doubled in the past year. These are the very real experiences of mainly supermarket workers struggling to afford the basic food they need.
“The Government has so far not delivered anywhere near enough to help workers facing of this cost of living crisis. We need them to agree a windfall tax on oil and gas producers, a reduction in VAT and a review of Universal Credit. If they don’t take the action we are calling for, the Government will have simply failed to understand the scale of the challenge faced by millions of working households across the country.”
Usdaw is calling for:
  • A windfall tax on the huge profits of North Sea oil and gas producers, to protect the most vulnerable.
  • A reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 20% to 17.5%.
  • An urgent and fundamental overhaul of Universal Credit, which includes significant investment, to ensure it provides a social security benefit that more consistently supports workers in low-paid employment. 
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers