In March 2020, when faced with the economic fallout from the pandemic, the UK Government recognised that social security rates were too low to support families when they need it most. Consequently, Universal Credit was increased by £20 per week to help those most in need. However, now, with the economic impact of the pandemic being felt most, the UK Government intend to cut this increase.

South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper has called on Conservative MPs and MSPs across the South Scotland Region to urgently join her calls for the UK Government to reverse its decision to cut Universal Credit by £20 per week, a decision which will cost families £1040 per year.

The calls from Ms Harper come following research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, published on Thursday the 26th of August, which revealed more than one in three (37%) families with children in Scotland will lose £1,040 per year if the Conservative cuts to Universal Credit go ahead in September.

Ms Harper has also branded these cuts as being completely “out of touch” with the difficulties being faced by families the length and breadth of South Scotland, and indeed the rest of the UK. A fact which she says is backed up by the Chancellor making these cuts, while planning a new swimming pool, gym and tennis court at his £1.5million grade II listed manor house.

Commenting on the analysis, Ms Harper said;
” The £20 extension to Universal Credit has been a lifeline for thousands of families, across my South Scotland Region and indeed across the UK, who have suffered financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

“It beggars belief that Rishi Sunak is slashing the incomes of these families by £1040 a year, while planning a luxury leisure extension to his million pound country mansion.

“After a decade of UK Conservative cuts, the UK already has the worst levels of poverty and inequality of any country in north west Europe and in-work poverty has risen to record levels in this century. The Chancellor might be living the high life with a personal swimming pool, gym, and tennis court – but if these Tory cuts go ahead – many families will be on the breadline, struggling to get by, and worried about how they will afford to put food on the table. There must be a U-turn.

“I am therefore calling on Scottish Conservative MPs and MSPs across South Scotland – Alister Jack, David Mundell, John Lamont, Finlay Carson, Rachel Hamilton and Oliver Mundell – to join me and do right by our constituents by calling for this cruel cut to be reversed immediately.

“It is clear the UK Government have no intention of building a fair recovery from covid. The only way to keep Scotland safe from these cuts is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to boost incomes and build a strong, fair and equal recovery.”