Friday, September 17, 2021

Fury as UK’s poorest face the biggest benefit cut since WW2

DWP ministers continue to reject appeals to retain the £20 per week Universal Credit 'uplift'.

The SNP has accused the Tories at Westminster of letting down working families and failing to make work pay as it is estimated that nearly 40% of people in Scotland claiming Universal Credit are in work.

Research from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) found that 176,000 people in Scotland who are claiming Universal Credit also have a job.

It comes as the Tories prepare to cut Universal Credit and scrap the £20 uplift, potentially plunging thousands of families in Scotland into poverty.

The TUC has warned that the cruel Tory plans will force hard-working families to “get by on much less” and is “levelling down – not levelling up”.

A recent investigation by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) found that around six million households in the UK are set to lose more than £1000 a year in vital income when the Universal Credit cut is enforced from 6 October 2021.

Commenting, SNP MSP and convener of the social security committee Neil Gray said: “This is another demonstration of how the cut to Universal Credit will impact thousands of hard-working families across Scotland as they will have less to get by on despite being in work.

“It is a damning indictment of the Tory government’s attitude to paid work that many families still cannot make ends meet even when they have a job and have to turn to social security – work should pay, it is very simple.

“The Scottish Government has been supporting hardworking families in Scotland with one hand tied behind its back as employment is a reserved matter.”

“The SNP Government continues to advocate for all employers to not just pay the minimum wage, but the real living wage of £9.50 per hour.

“Schemes like the Scottish Living Hours Accreditation scheme go some way to encourage employers to pay their workers a fair wage.

“However, we need the UK government to step up and raise the national minimum wage to meet the real living wage and make sure that no one in Scotland suffers from in-work poverty.”

Katie Schmuecker, Deputy Director of Policy and Partnerships for the JRF said: “Universal Credit has been a lifeline that has helped keep millions of heads above water, but the new analysis should act as a stark warning of the immense, immediate and avoidable consequences of what amounts to the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the Second World War.

“We all accept governing is about priorities but cutting the incomes of millions of the poorest families and sucking money out of the places in which they live, flies in the face of the Government’s mission to level up our country.

“This is not about generosity, it’s a matter of investing in families so they have the dignity of being able to meet their needs and supporting everyone in and out of work to escape poverty.

“The public deserve to know what the Government expects the impact of this cut to be. Ministers cannot hide the fact that they are ploughing ahead with a cut despite knowing it will be devastating for millions of families.

“They should publish their analysis on the impact of the cut as soon as possible.”

Neil Gray added: “This again shows how Scotland is being held back by being tied to the Tories at Westminster.

“The only way to protect the future of the people of Scotland is to become an independent country with all the powers over employment law that would bring.”

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