The economic fallout from the pandemic and Brexit continues to impact us all – none more so than working families who were already struggling to make ends meet. I am proud to say that the Scottish Government, is doing what it can to close the growing poverty gap through initiatives like doubling the Scottish Child Payment. I firmly believe that the state has a duty to do all it can to assist those in need, especially in a crisis.
The UK Parliament returned from summer recess this month and immediately set out plans to reduce support to the most vulnerable in our society – ending the £20 uplift to Universal Credit, a 1.25% increase to national insurance and a proposed end to the triple lock pensions – two of which are significant breaks to manifesto commitments. It is high time that the UK Government showed the same ambition and compassion as the Scottish Government.
For some time, the SNP group at Westminster have been highlighting how deeply unfit for purpose the current welfare frameworks are in the UK. Unfortunately, as many constituents have raised with me. The egregious decision to end the lifeline £20 uplift to universal credit is nothing short of shameful and will plunge 858 families in East Dunbartonshire into poverty overnight, worst of all this includes 1483 children. Reliance on foodbanks is set to soar.
With the UK already suffering from the highest poverty levels in northwest Europe, this is utterly unacceptable and shows yet again that the Conservatives have no interest in meaningfully tackling inequality.
These plans will set Scotland two steps back in our fight against poverty; serving as another example of the Scottish Government putting money into people’s pockets, like the doubling of the Scottish Child Payment, only to be undermined by cruel and incompetent Conservatives at Westminster. I can assure readers that my SNP colleagues and I will continue to pressure the UK Government to u-turn on this unacceptable decision.