Friday, September 17, 2021

SNP declare ‘day of action’ to stop Universal Credit cuts

It is expected that planned cuts to Universal Credit will be felt particularly hard by those who voted Conservative for the first time in the last general election.

The SNP’s Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford MP, will join campaigning Glasgow MP and SNP Welfare spokesperson, David Linden, for a day of action to stop Tory cuts to Universal Credit that will plunge families across Scotland into poverty, including those in work.

The pair will visit a foodbank in Glasgow to help load, unload and make up food parcels, as well as hear Trussell Trust Scotland’s concerns about the upcoming Universal Credit cut, which is set to come in at the same time as furlough ends and energy prices rise.

The planned cuts will see the incomes of six million people – over 400,000 in Scotland – slashed by £1040 overnight.

The Trussell Trust’s 2021 State of Hunger report revealed that last year, over two fifths of households referred to a food bank were in receipt of Universal Credit, and according to Child Poverty Action Group, 72% of children in families struggling to afford food have at least one parent who works.

The Glasgow East MP, who has over 10,000 people in his constituency on Universal Credit – 3,887 of whom are in employment – launched his campaign at the beginning of August urging people to “reject Rishi’s Universal Credit crunch”.

He is calling on the Chancellor to U-turn on the cuts that will put half a million more people below the poverty line.

Commenting, the SNP’s Work and Pensions spokesperson David Linden MP, said: “The Tories’ planned cuts to Universal Credit will not only plunge half a million people into poverty – 200,000 of which are children – but it will betray the 180,000 odd people in Scotland in employment who rely on the payment to get by [sic].

“In-work poverty has been rising under the Tory government’s watch and is one of the main drivers behind food insecurity.

“Boris Johnson’s rhetoric that ‘work pays’ is ringing hollow.

“It is a damning indictment of this Tory government that many families still cannot make ends meet even when they have a job.

Rishi Sunak must u-turn on the cuts and instead make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.

“Beyond that, he must bring in a Real Living Wage to ensure that work really does pay.”

Commenting, the SNP’s Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said: “It is time Tory ministers heeded the many warnings about the impact the Universal Credit crunch will have – including the fact that the planned cut risks wiping out the positive impact the Scottish Child Payment has on families.

“If the Chancellor goes ahead with these further brutal austerity cuts, it will be another example of the SNP government putting money in people’s pockets just for the Tories to take it away again.

“Neither the Tories nor Labour can be trusted to stand up for families in Scotland. Just this week Labour – the architects of austerity – failed to commit to reversing Universal Credit cuts if in power and we are still reeling from a decade of Tory austerity cuts.”

It is estimated that around one in three people living in Tory-held “red wall” areas, won from Labour in the last general election, will be affected by the £20 per week Universal Credit cut.

Labour has pledged to “replace” the current Universal Credit system, if they win the next general election. However, they have stopped short of committing to reversing the £20 per week cut.

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