Almost 400,000 Scottish families set to lose £1,000 a year in Universal Credit cut, Labour warns
Almost 400,000 Scottish families are set to lose £1,000 a year in the UK Government cuts to Universal Credit.
Labour shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds has today warned the number of people hit by the cut is larger than the parliamentary majority in every single Scottish Conservative seat.
Writing for The Scotsman, the Labour MP argued for the Conservatives to make another U-turn ahead of Labour forcing a vote on the issue on Monday.
He said: “The last year has been tough for families across the UK. Not being able to see our loved ones, at a time when we have all needed that support the most, has been incredibly difficult.
"Yet too often it has felt like families are at the bottom of the list for those making the decisions. Whether on exams, free school meals, access to remote learning or childcare, both the Conservatives and the SNP have let Scotland’s families down.
“If Westminster and Holyrood don’t act, the impact on Scotland’s children could far outlast this pandemic.
“Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon could take steps right now to ease the burden on families, and support them through the tough months ahead.”
Despite opposition from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and SNP, the UK Government has repeatedly refused to guarantee the uplift in Universal Credit will remain.
Mr Reynolds warned 394,089 families would suffer if the temporary extension wasn’t upheld, which as it stands is set to expire in March.
The Stalybridge and Hyde MP is now urging Scottish Tories to back the extension and join Labour in voting for it on Monday.
He explained: “If the Prime Minister doesn’t change course, a staggering 400,000 families in Scotland are set to lose £1,000 a year and 30,000 children could be pushed into poverty.
“With the UK facing the worst recession of any major economy, pulling away this vital support would be devastating for the life chances of Scotland’s children.
“The level of insecurity faced by so many is so great that in all Scottish constituencies represented by Conservative MPs, the number of people that will be affected by this cut is greater than their UK Parliamentary majorities.
“To each of those MPs, and MPs across the UK, my message is clear – put party interest aside and vote with Labour tomorrow to stop this cut.”
Mr Reynolds also questioned the priorities of the Scottish Government, criticising the “unforgivable” delay of the Scottish Child Payment.
The senior shadow minister also claimed the SNP had “the power” to tackle poverty and were failing to do so.
He said: “What is lacking in Scotland is not the power, but the political will to deliver a better social security system.
“The SNP can choose a different path, but too often they refuse to do so and instead play politics as a tool for constitutional debate.
“Why else would the First Minister manufacture a grievance with the Tories on the payment for NHS workers instead of just ensuring all of the money went to NHS workers?”
A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to supporting the lowest-paid families through the pandemic and beyond to ensure that nobody is left behind. That’s why we’ve targeted our support to those most in need by raising the living wage, spending hundreds of billions to safeguard jobs, boosting welfare support by billions.
"The UK Government has also provided an additional £8.6 billion in funding to the Scottish Government to tackle the pandemic in Scotland.”
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