Following a new report, the SNP has said the Tory government’s plans to cut Universal Credit in April will take money out of people's pockets when it is needed the most and increase in-work poverty.
New research, published today (Wednesday 10th February) by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), shows that if the Tories plough ahead with planned Universal Credit cuts – after historically failing to ensure the policy is increased in line with the cost of living - the proposed 2021 rates for the benefit will be over a tenth less (11.5%) in real terms than its value eight years ago in 2013.
NEW: Our analysis shows that cutting #UniversalCredit by £20 per week would mean the benefit would be worth less in 2021 than it was when it was introduced in 2013.— Citizens Advice Scotland (@CitAdviceScot) February 10, 2021
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If the £20 boost is scrapped in April, the value of Universal Credit will drop by as much as a quarter (25%) at a time when millions are facing reduced incomes and job losses and turn to Universal Credit. This will see single claimants under 25 receive a quarter less (£342.72 to £257.33), single claimants over 25 receive a fifth less (£409.89 to £324.84), joint claimants under 25 receive 17% less (£488.59 to £403.93) and joint claimants over 25 receive 14% less (£594.04 to £509.91).
The SNP’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, David Linden MP, has warned that the cuts risks increasing in-work poverty as almost 2 in 5 (38%) people on Universal Credit are in work (2.2m people).
Commenting, David Linden MP said:
”It is madness that the Tories are looking at cutting the incomes of people in the middle of a global health pandemic and economic crisis. If we are to ensure a strong economic recovery and prevent hundreds of thousands being plunged into, or further into, poverty – including those in work – we need policies that put money into people’s pockets, not take it out.
”Reports suggest that the UK government is considering plans to extend the Universal Credit uplift by six months. This is not good enough and will still cut people off at the knees at a time when many are trying to get back on track. The Tories must commit to maintaining the uplift for good and extending it to legacy benefits – anything short of this will be another failure to tackle poverty.
”A motion to maintain and extend the uplift passed 278 to 0 in parliament last month. It is now incumbent on the Tory government to immediately deliver this. Having completely failed to stand up for families in Scotland by abstaining, Douglas Ross must now back SNP calls for a full and permanent extension to the uplift, and the devolution of financial, welfare, and employment powers needed to properly tackle poverty.
”Scotland shouldn't have to wait for Westminster to act. The only way to secure a strong, fair and equal recovery is for Scotland to become an independent country - with the full powers needed to build a fairer society.”