Buchan MSP calls for £20 'uplift' to be made permanent
More than 14,000 people in Aberdeenshire could lose "lifeline" funding as the UK Government prepares to axe a pandemic-inspired benefits boost.
Since March 2020, Universal Credit claimants have been receiving an extra £20 a week to help them mitigate the financial impact of Covid-19.
Despite calls to make the uplift permanent, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed recently that it would be scrapped this autumn as it had always been intended as a temporary measure.
Data from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that in May, there were 14,711 Universal Credit claimants in Aberdeenshire – 6,136 (42 per cent) of whom were in employment.
That figure has more than doubled since February 2020 – shortly before the coronavirus pandemic hit – when there were 6,649 people in the area claiming the benefit.
Local MSP Karen Adam has expressed her deep concern over the move.
She said: “I know my Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency consists of council wards that together account for over 50 per cent of the entire Aberdeenshire based Universal Credit claimant list.
"Even across Aberdeenshire, 22 per cent of workers are paid less than the Living Wage, and I urge the UK Government to rethink and do the right thing with another U-turn – and keep families afloat.
"It must keep the lifeline, strengthen social security and support the recovery by making the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent and extending it to legacy benefits.”