LOCAL TORY MSPS URGED TO BACK U-TURN ON REMOVAL OF £20 UPLIFT
Local Tory MSPs have been urged to back a U-turn on Tory plans to cut Universal Credit in the middle of an economic crisis - after new figures revealed that Boris Johnson’s plan to remove the £20 per week uplift in April would hit 8448 people in Midlothian and 9540 in East Lothian.
Latest statistics show that in November 2020 there were 8448 people claiming Universal Credit in Midlothian and 9540 people claiming Universal Credit in East Lothian. If all these people remain on Universal Credit until April, then they will be affected by the removal of the £20 uplift.
The SNP has repeatedly called on the Westminster Tory government to maintain the £20 boost to Universal Credit and extend it to legacy benefits - yet all six Scottish Tory MPs abstained on a vote which would have ensured that.
Anti-poverty think-tank the Resolution Foundation estimates that the cut to Universal Credit by £20 a week could see the incomes of low-income families fall by more than four per cent (4%) and plunge a further 820,000 children into poverty across the UK.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“By slashing social security payments by £1000 a year, in the middle of an economic crisis, the Tories could push 8448 people in Midlothian and 9540 people in East Lothian further into hardship and poverty.
"There must be an immediate U-turn on this, to avoid worsening poverty and inequality across the country during the Covid-19 crisis - and I would urge local MSPs to support this.
"Although the SNP government has led the way in tackling poverty, with new benefits like the Scottish Child Payment and a social security system based on dignity and respect, this progress is being severely undermined by Tory cuts.
“It is crucial that the £20 uplift to Universal Credit is made permanent and extended to legacy benefits, as part of a wider package to boost incomes after a decade of damaging Tory austerity cuts.
"Scotland shouldn't have to wait for Westminster to act to protect the incomes of the most vulnerable in our society. The only way to secure a strong, fair and equal recovery is for Scotland to become an independent country - with the full powers needed to build a fairer society."