Publised date : 21 Jan 2021

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has urged local Tory MSPs 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 10,237 people across Perth and Kinross.


Latest statistics show that in November 2020 there were 10,237 people claiming Universal Credit in Perth and Kinross. If all these people remain on Universal Credit until April, then they would 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 when this matter was voted on in Westminster.


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.


Commenting, Mr Swinney said: 


“By slashing social security payments by £1000 a year in the middle of an economic crisis, the Tories could push upwards of 10,000 people across the region further into hardship and poverty.


"There must be an immediate U-turn on this, to avoid worsening poverty and inequality across the region 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."
 

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