New research shows low-income families will be almost £2000 worse off by April and the £20 Universal Credit uplift, set to be cut in October, would cover near a whole week of energy costs for claimants.
The research, carried out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) respectively, follows data from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) that revealed one in three Scots – around 1.4 million – ran out of money before pay day at least once in the last year.
The JRF has warned that families already under constant pressure will be pushed to breaking point by the combined impact of rising living costs and the Universal Credit cut.
In light of the new information and as the cost of living soars after Brexit and over a decade of Tory rule, the SNP has renewed calls for the uplift to be made permanent and extended to legacy benefits, and for the UK government to introduce a new energy payment to help lower income families cover the cost of fuel bills during the UK energy crisis.
Commenting, SNP Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss (pictured) said:
“A decade of Tory cuts, the pandemic and Brexit have left millions of families poorer – and the UK government’s response has been feeble at best.
“The UK already has the worst levels of poverty and inequality in north west Europe – and under Boris Johnson in-work poverty has risen to record levels this century – and things are set to get worse as we face a Tory made cost-of-living crisis.
“We need urgent action from the Chancellor, including immediately reversing the £1040 Tory cuts to Universal Credit and introducing a new energy payment for lower income families.
“Low and middle income households have consistently been at the sharp end of this Tory government’s shocking decisions and they cannot afford to lose even more through skyrocketing energy bills.
“All of this has come to a head under this Tory government’s watch and they must put it right.
“Families must not be forced to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table this winter.
“The SNP will continue to press for urgent action but ultimately the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts and the long-term damage of Brexit is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to build a strong, fair and equal recovery.”