Fife MSP's call to halt Universal Credit cut to protect poorest communities

A Fife MSP has said that Tory cuts to Universal Credit must not go ahead to protect the region’s poorest communities.

By John A. MacInnes
Thursday, 19th August 2021, 1:44 pm

The comments from Jenny Gilruth, SNP MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothe, follow a poll by YouGov, which showed two-thirds of people in Scotland are opposed to the Tory UK government plans to cut Universal Credit in October.

In the poll, 35% of people supported the £20 uplift being maintained until the country’s financial position was ‘more stable’. 28% of people asked wanted the uplift to be made permanent.

Citizens Advice Scotland, which commissioned the polling, said cutting support would mean Universal Credit’s real terms value would drop to a lower rate than when it was introduced in 2013.

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Jenny Gilruth MSP

Ms Gilruth said: “This poll clearly demonstrates that Scotland is overwhelmingly opposed to the Tory UK Government plans to cut Universal Credit.

“The impact of these cuts, potentially plunging 20,000 children in Scotland in poverty, are extremely concerning, especially during the pandemic.

"The £20 uplift has been a vital lifeline for many families in my constituency and across Scotland and this YouGov poll reflects this.

“Not everyone in Fife had the same starting point at the beginning of the pandemic.

"Covid has been layered upon the impact of Tory austerity – a double whammy for some of our poorest communities. Whilst the real economic fallout is yet to be felt, it will be those with least who feel it most.

“This planned Tory cut to Universal Credit means the UK Government is once again pursuing a path of austerity, at the worst possible time, and must not go ahead.

David Redpath, CEO at Citizens Advice and Rights Fife added: “Given the economic impact of the pandemic will be felt for a number of years, the move to remove the £20 uplift is likely to cause huge concerns for individuals and families across the whole of Fife.

"This may cause an associated rise in the demand for services like ours whilst also taking much needed money out of the local economy. The benefits to maintaining this payment far outweigh the detrimental impact that could be caused by its removal.”

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