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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

UK Government Must Urgently Tackle in Work Poverty

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Tories need a reality check over struggles of ordinary families.

The SNP has said the UK government needs a “reality check” and has pressed for urgent action to tackle in-work poverty.

It comes as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) launched their ‘Way to Work’ campaign today, which aims to move half a million people into work by the end of June – but the SNP has said this will just be “painting over the cracks” if the UK government doesn’t bring in a Real Living Wage, and take other steps, to tackle in-work poverty.

The move will see Universal Credit claimants sanctioned should they refuse work, even if the job has nothing to do with their skills, experience, training, or demands unsuitable hours.

The new rules will mean those on UC could face sanctions 4 weeks after their initial UC claim if they’re found to not be making reasonable efforts to find and secure work in any sector or turn down a job offer.

The SNP’s Shadow DWP Secretary, David Linden MP (pictured), warned that, with record levels of in-work poverty, any jobs programme must be accompanied by an introduction of the Real Living Wage, set independently by the Living Wage Foundation, of £9.90 an hour, or risks pushing more individuals into insecure low-paid work.

He also urged that, amidst a cost of living crisis, action be taken quickly to tackle poverty wages and strengthen the social security system, and demanded sanctions are scrapped.

A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) previously found that the chances of households with two people in full time work falling into poverty had more than doubled in the past two decades.

It also revealed that couple households with one full time earner have a poverty rate of 31%, almost as high as working households with no full-time workers.

Commenting, David Linden MP said:

“Work under this Tory government isn’t a guaranteed way out of poverty.

“This new scheme is merely painting over the cracks, if the Tories think this will help families escape the cost of living crisis or the cycles of deprivation they need an urgent reality check.

“The Tories have presided over record levels of in-work poverty, affecting millions of families who’ve received no help whatsoever and whose bills and falling wages are about to hit them even harder.

“But at its core this policy has nothing to do with getting people into work, rather it’s just an attempt to clean up the worker shortages the Tories created with their own Brexit mess.

“Alongside real jobs programmes we need to see urgent action to help people escape poverty wages, starting with the introduction of the real living wage at £9.90 an hour.

“The UK government’s pretend ‘National Living Wage’ clearly isn’t cutting it.

“It’s an insult to workers who’ve seen their wages fall and prices of goods and services skyrocket.

“Efforts to get folk into work should empower them, not force them into insecure, low-paid, jobs with the threat of sanctions should they leave.

“Instead, the Tories have turned a blind eye to the struggles of ordinary people, callously cutting benefits and imposing brutal caps and sanctions upon the most vulnerable in our society.

“For all the Tories’ rhetoric, work isn’t paying under their watch.

“It is clear that the only way we will be able to properly tackle in-work poverty, and poverty in general, in Scotland is through independence and the powers that will bring with it.”

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