Third of Scottish families to lose out when Universal Credit uplift is reversed
One in three families in Scotland are set to lose £1,040 per year if the uplift to Universal Credit is not kept, campaigners have warned.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is urging politicians to oppose the UK Government’s plan to end the temporary £20 a week uplift in October, saying it will push families into poverty.
Analysis from the charity found in 52 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies, a quarter of families with children will be impacted by the reduction to the benefit.
Glasgow constituencies make up half of the top ten Scottish constituencies to be most affected, with Glasgow Central topping the list with 63 per cent of families currently in receipt of Universal Credit.
Other constituencies with the highest number of benefit recipients are Glenrothes (49 per cent), Dundee West (49 per cent) and Dumfries and Galloway (44 per cent).
In total, the reduction is expected to impact over 450,000 families in Scotland.
Deputy director of the JRF Chris Birt said: “It is a scandal that the UK Government’s strategy for economic recovery is to plunge families who are already struggling into deeper poverty and debt.
“Now is the time for MPs and MSPs of all stripes to step up and oppose this cut to their constituents’ incomes. It’s not too late for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to change course and reverse this decision.”
Universal Credit is set to revert to pre-pandemic levels from 6 October. The £20 a week uplift was brought in at the start of the pandemic to help struggling families who may have lost income.
The JRF is just one of several charities calling on the government to make the uplift permanent.
The SNP and Labour have also voiced support for such a move.
SNP MP David Linden – who represents Glasgow East, where almost half of families are in receipt of Universal Credit – said: “It is a damning indictment of this Tory government that many families still cannot make ends meet even when they have a job. Rishi Sunak must U-turn on the cuts and instead make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.”
Glasgow MSP for Labour, Pam Duncan-Glancy, said: “The UK government must think again and keep the uplift. If they press ahead with this, it will return social security support to the lowest level in decades.”
She also urged the Scottish Government not to “sit on their hands”.
She added: “They must urgently use the powers they have here in Scotland to immediately double the Scottish Child Payment and work quickly towards a Minimum Income Guarantee.”
A spokesperson for the DWP said: "The temporary uplift to Universal Credit was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.
"Universal Credit will continue to provide a vital safety net and with record vacancies available, alongside the successful vaccination rollout, it’s right that we now focus on our Plan for Jobs, helping claimants to increase their earnings by boosting their skills and getting into work, progressing in work or increasing their hours.
"The Scottish Parliament has significant welfare powers and can top-up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility."