Thousands of people in Midlothian and East Lothian will be plunged into poverty as the UK government plans to end vital coronavirus support to people receiving benefits such as Universal Credit.
Currently around 7,000 are receiving Universal Credit in Midlothian, and just under 8,000 in East Lothian, but are set to lose out on the £20-a-week uplift brought in to provide a lifeline during the pandemic.
The Tory government is set to take away the uplift and reinstate the Minimum Income Floor by April 2021. A Scottish Government report calculates that the decision will cost households in Scotland up to £476million.
Commenting on the news, Colin Beattie MSP said:
“The Tories’ proposals to withdraw this £20 uplift in April would pull the rug out from thousands of families in Midlothian and East Lothian at a time when they need support the most.
“The pandemic is not over yet - so the UK government needs to reconsider these plans and tailor them for the needs of people who are either out of work or whose income has been devastated by the impact of COVID-19.
“I would urge the UK government to take into consideration the impact this decision will have on people in areas like Midlothian and East Lothian and urgently reverse it.
“The SNP Government is doing all it can to support families who are struggling, by introducing game-changing benefits like the Scottish Child Payment, and we will continue to build a benefits system that is kind, caring and compassionate with the limited powers we currently hold.
"An independent Scotland would have full social security powers to build a fair social security system that gives families the support they need.”