A cross-party group of MPs has urged the UK government to maintain the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and extend it to legacy benefits “in order to avoid a two-tier social security system.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty, which is co-chaired by Neil Gray MP, has also called for a suspension of the benefit cap for the duration of the pandemic, which would enable all low-income households to benefit from the £20 uplift.
This comes after a growing backlash from the third sector towards the Tory government for failing to oppose plans to cut the Universal Credit uplift in a vote.
While the SNP voted against the cut to Universal Credit, which comes into force in April, Scottish Tory MPs abstained – despite Douglas Ross previously backing an extension uplift.
Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty, Neil Gray MP, said:
“This is a significant intervention from a cross-party group of MPs, including Tory MPs, which warns that slashing social security payments in the middle of an economic crisis and a global pandemic could push more people into poverty at the worst possible time.
“There must be a U-turn on this, to avoid worsening poverty and inequality across the country during this crisis – and the Chancellor must commit to this immediately so that people are given certainty in the coming months.
“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.
“This Tory government’s repeated failures on tackling poverty have proven that the only way to secure a strong, fair and equal recovery is for Scotland to become an independent country.”