MSP's deep concern over Universal Credit cut
The UK government recently announced that Universal Credit will be cut by £20 per week for millions of families.
The north-east has as one of the highest rates of people relying on Universal Credit according to Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation, with Banff and Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam expressing her deep concern over the move.
Claimants in Aberdeenshire are in the process of being contacted to confirm the £20-a-week uplift introduced at the start of the pandemic will be cut after Secretary of State Therese Coffey informed the Work and Pensions Committee there are no plans to make it permanent.
Charities and campaigners have warned that cutting the benefit will mean 400,000 children in the UK will be pushed into poverty while the Children’s Commissioner for Scotland has warned the Tory plan would be “catastrophic” for families.
Ms Adam said: “Back in March 2020, the UK Government rightly acted swiftly, recognising the need to invest in our social security system to hold us steady during an economic crisis.
"It is clear to everyone within their communities that even with this £20-a-week increase, many families have made enormous sacrifices during the pandemic and have struggled to make ends meet.
“I know the 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.
"In terms of economic vulnerability, wards are generally worse-than-average, according to a number of indicators including average income, the proportion of pensioners in receipt of Pension Credits and child poverty.
"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.
"We see money being allocated to Royal yachts, yet the most vulnerable in our communities are being hung out to dry.”