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Tory Universal Credit cut to affect nearly nearly 180,000 Scots workers


Nearly 180,000 Scots workers will be affected by the Tory Government slashing Universal Credit by £20 a week

Over 100,000 single parent households will also be hit by a move charities believe will push vulnerable people into poverty.

SNP MSP Neil Gray blasted: “This Tory government’s choice to inflict the biggest overnight cut to social security since World War II – hammering people both in and out of work – is a crime against decency.

“The sheer scale of misery they will inflict on people across Scotland is horrific.”

The Tory Government’s uplift in Universal Credit, worth over £1000 a year, was a lifeline for many during the pandemic.

However, Boris Johnson is refusing to make the rise permanent and hard-pressed Scots will lose the cash from next month.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey was savaged recently for saying that claimants could make up the loss by working longer hours.

Johnson was also accused of insensitivity after saying he wanted people’s wage rise “through their efforts”.

The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICE) has now provided a breakdown of the households who receive the benefit north of the border.

As of May this year, the number of people in work who were on UC was 176,935, while the figure for single parents was 104,536.

The number of households on UC where the claim included an additional element for a disabled child stood at 11,887 and 33,143 for carers.

The figure was 2,737 for households with a “limited capability for work” and 63,406 for a “limited capability for work related activity”.

SPICE figures also showed there were 412, 916 universal credit households across Scotland in May.

These included 63,339 in Glasgow, 32,022 in Edinburgh, 25,493 in South Lanarkshire and 29,496 in North Lanarkshire.

Other research shows that withdrawing the uplift will move around 50,000 people, including 10,000 children, into poverty.

Gray said of the looming cut: “It will have a devastating impact on working families, single parent families, carer families and many others to find or stay in a job, stripping many of the ability to put food on the table or keep warm as we head into winter.

“To press ahead with these cuts without conducting any form of impact assessment again demonstrates that they simply don’t care. If this was any other Government, such negligence and incompetence would be difficult to believe.”

Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy said: “The removal of the £20 uplift is a cruel decision, and it will leave single parents, carers and disabled people without the money they desperately need.

“The Tory government should reverse this unforgivable decision, and the Scottish Government must do more than just sit on its hands or point fingers. It has powers to mitigate this damaging move, and it must use them

“Some families who were receiving the Scottish Child Payment will now lose out because of the removal of the uplift. The Scottish Government should be finding an immediate solution to ensure that more money is not taken out of the pockets of these families.”

Nina Ballantyne from Citizens Advice Scotland said: “The decision to cut Universal Credit will hit hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland – including people in work. Coming at a time when the furlough scheme is ending and energy bills are set to rise, people will be facing incredibly difficult choices with their household budgets.”

Meanwhile, the Tory Government has admitted it has not assessed the impact of the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit on people’s lives.

The SNP asked the Department of Work and Pensions if any impact assessment had been carried out on the £20 removal.

They responded: “The Department has not completed an Impact Assessment of the removal of the UC temporary uplift as it was introduced as a temporary measure.”

A UK Government spokesperson said:

“As announced by the Chancellor at the Budget, the uplift to Universal Credit was always temporary. It was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.

“Universal Credit will continue to provide vital support for those both in and out of work and it’s right that the Government should focus on our Plan for Jobs, supporting people back into work and supporting those already employed to progress and earn more.

“The Scottish Parliament has significant welfare powers and can top-up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility.”

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