Thousands of people throughout East Dunbartonshire and Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East will be plunged into poverty as the UK government plans to end vital coronavirus support to people receiving benefits such as Universal Credit.
From October 2020, figures show there are 8600 adults currently receiving Universal Credit within Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East and 3,497 within East Dunbartonshire respectively. Despite the startling numbers – and despite the increase in tier protection levels in East Dunbartonshire last week - UK government is set to cut the £20-a-week uplift to Universal Credit brought in to provide a lifeline during the pandemic.
The Conservative UK government is set to take away the uplift and reinstate the Minimum Income Floor by April 2021. A Scottish Government report calculates that the decision will cost households in Scotland up to £476million.
The news has brought widespread condemnation from Rona Mackay MSP, Amy Callaghan MP and Stuart McDonald MP. Speaking in a joint statement, the politicians all called for an immediate rethink, criticising the cut as a “shameful dereliction of duty”. Commenting, they said:
“The Tories' proposals to withdraw this £20 uplift in April would pull the rug out from thousands of families throughout East Dunbartonshire, Strathkelvin and Bearsden and Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East. "This is a time for further help and assistance, not a shameful dereliction of duty at a time when our constituents need it the most.
“The pandemic is not over yet. The UK government needs to reconsider these plans and tailor them for the needs of people who are either out of work or whose self-employed income has been devastated by the impact of COVID-19.
“We would urge the UK government to take into consideration the impact this decision will have on people throughout our constituencies and urgently reverse their position.
“The SNP Government is doing all it can to support families who are struggling, by introducing game-changing benefits like the Scottish Child Payment. Unlike the Tory government, we will continue to build a benefits system that is kind, caring and compassionate with the limited powers we currently hold.
Notes to Editors:
Access local UC stats here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/constituency-data-universal-credit-roll-out/