Controversial reductions from benefits are topic of letter from SNP MP to minister responsible

There are approximately 3000 reasons to think again – that is the message from MP Stuart McDonald who has written to a cabinet minster over a controversial decision which sees automatic reductions made from Universal Credit payments.

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Mr McDonald feels that the minister is out of touch with reality.
Mr McDonald feels that the minister is out of touch with reality.

Stuart McDonald, MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey MP, in the hope that the deductions can be reduced.

And that’s because around 3000 families in his constituency are facing critical financial pressure day-to-day as a consequence of the deductions, according to figures recently published by The Child Poverty Action Group. Those affected are already contending with the cost-of-living crisis, with the recent announcement from the Office of National Statistics that inflation has hit a 40-year high of nine per cent.

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And the Scottish National Party man wants the matter addressed immediately.

Mr McDonald said: “It is entirely unacceptable that the UK Government is making it harder for families by deducting from their Universal Credit payments instead of supporting them.

“ We can't wait to take action on this – it's affecting families now and they need support now. The Government is being far too hesitant in providing support and is now actively deducting from 3000 local households.

“The UK Government should take action now and stop the automatic Universal Credit deductions that are hitting families hard."

A Government spokesperson said: “We carefully balance our support for claimants with our duty to protect taxpayers money so we have further reduced the cap on Universal Credit deductions and paused the Fuel Direct scheme that allows energy bill payments to be taken directly from benefits.

“Safeguards are in place to ensure deductions are manageable and customers can contact DWP to discuss their repayments if they are experiencing hardship.

“We recognise the pressures on the cost of living and we are doing what we can to help, including spending £22 billion across the next financial year to support people, and for the hardest hit our Household Support Fund is there to help with the cost of everyday essentials.”