Universal Credit Cuts Must Not Proceed

New research shows that if the Chancellor’s plans to cut Universal Credit go ahead, millions will be left without the income needed to afford the minimum living standard and the Scottish Child Payment will be undermined.

As foodbank usage, debt, and poverty rise to record levels after a decade of Tory austerity cuts, a Tory hard Brexit and a global health pandemic, the SNP has urged the UK government to U-turn on this decision to prevent millions more from falling into further hardship and destitution.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has today revealed that the planned £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit could leave out-of-work families with children receiving barely half of the income the public believes is required to achieve an acceptable standard of living, while adults without children will receive around a third.

The upcoming Tory cuts would reduce the value of out-of-work benefits to their lowest recorded levels relative to what the public thinks is an acceptable income, as well as cancel out the impact of the Scottish Government’s plans to double the Scottish Child Payment.

The report comes just two days after a significant intervention by the Northern Research Group, which consists of around 50 Tory MPs, who echoed the SNP’s call for the UK government to make the Universal Credit £20 uplift permanent – saying it has been a “life-saver” for families and that doing so would “hamper” the UK’s economic recovery.

Commenting, Angela Crawley MP said:

“If the Tory government pushes ahead with these cuts – which they seem intent on doing – it will leave millions across Scotland and the UK worse off, exacerbate poverty and inequality, and put beyond doubt that they have absolutely no intention of building a fair recovery from Covid. 

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are not only threatening Scotland’s recovery by imposing Tory austerity cuts on family incomes, but their actions will actively undermine anti-poverty measures implemented by the Scottish Government. I am urging them to U-turn on these plans, make the Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.

“While the SNP government is putting money in people’s pockets, the Tories are taking it away again – dragging our efforts to tackle poverty backwards. It speaks volumes that they are refusing to publish an impact assessment for these cuts.

“This reports also lays bare the serious financial blow single parent families – who are already disproportionately impacted by the UK’s welfare policies – could see if the cuts go ahead. Even with a full-time job on the National Living Wage, a single parent with two children aged 3 and 7 will be £66-a-week short of the Minimum Income Standard.

“Westminster continues to show it cannot be trusted with Scotland’s recovery. The only way to build a strong, fair and equal recovery is for Scotland to become an independent country – with the full powers to create jobs, boost incomes and tackle poverty and inequality head on.”