SNP MPs have ramped up pressure on the Tory government to U-turn on their shameful decision to scrap the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift – which would come at the “worst possible time” for millions of people.
At DWP Questions in Westminster, the party’s Work and Pensions spokesperson, David Linden MP (pictured), challenged Tory minister Will Quince to heed the warnings from cross-party MPs to make the uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits, to prevent struggling households from being pushed further into hardship.
The calls also follow a report from the Trussell Trust which found that around 700,000 families were forced to use a food bank in the year prior to the pandemic, and that a staggering 95% of people who had been referred to food banks in early 2020 were living in destitution with just £248 a month after housing costs.
Commenting, David Linden MP said:
“This UK Tory government is committed to cutting the £20-a-week Universal Credit at the worst possible time, coinciding with the withdrawal of the furlough scheme.
“The uplift has been a lifeline for many, therefore pulling this support would add to the hardship and difficulties facing many families.
“The Tory government must heed the warnings from charities and cross-party MPs, U-turn on their shameful decision, and instead commit to making the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.
“Instead of listening to these mounting concerns, the Tories are hell-bent on repeating the same devastating mistakes they made following the last economic crisis, with massive cuts pushing millions of people into poverty, entrenching inequality, and inflicting lasting scars on communities across Scotland and the UK.
“Westminster cannot be trusted with Scotland’s recovery.
“It’s clearer than ever that the only way to secure a strong, fair and equal recovery is for Scotland to become an independent country, with the full powers to invest in our economy and build the fairer society we all want to see.
“This pandemic has exposed the deep inequalities that exist under the broken Westminster system.
“The SNP government will continue to use the limited powers of devolution to mitigate the damage caused by Tory cuts where we can – but it is essential that once this crisis is over people in Scotland have the choice of a fairer future with independence.”