Douglas Ross calls for extension to Universal Credit uplift
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has called on the UK Government to extend the temporary increase in Universal Credit.
The uplift gives people claiming Universal Credit an extra £20 a week or £1,040 a year.
Introduced because of coronavirus, the uplift is scheduled to end in April 2021, but Ross called for the higher rate to continue “for the foreseeable future”.
Anti-poverty charities have been calling for the £20 uplift to be made permanent, with 50 organisations signing a joint letter to the UK Government in September asking for a permanent increase in Universal Credit and for the same uplift to be applied to legacy benefits.
They predicted that 700,000 more people including 300,000 children would be pulled into poverty if Universal Credit dropped to its previous level.
Around 476,776 people in Scotland were claiming Universal Credit as of September this year.
Ross said: “Throughout this pandemic, Universal Credit has been a vital safety net for nearly half a million people across Scotland and many more across the UK.
“I don’t think it would be fair to pull support away from people while this pandemic continues to damage our way of life so deeply.
“The Universal Credit uplift should continue for the foreseeable future.
“I would encourage the UK Government to make that commitment now and provide the reassurance many people are looking for.
“It might not seem like a vast sum of money but to the families receiving this support, it makes a huge difference.”