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Moray councillor condemns plans to cut Universal Credit

By Alan Beresford

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PLANS by the UK government to cut Universal Credit (UC) have been condemned by a Moray councillor.

Councillor Sonya Warren: Planned cut to Universal Credit will "exacerbate poverty and inequality".Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Councillor Sonya Warren: Planned cut to Universal Credit will "exacerbate poverty and inequality".Picture: Daniel Forsyth

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has claimed that the planned £20-a-week cut to UC could leave out-of-work families with children receiving barely half of the income the public believes is required to achieve an acceptable standard of living, while adults without children will receive around a third.

Buckie SNP councillor Sonya Warren has backed the Scottish Government call for Westminster to U-turn on this decision to prevent millions more from falling into further hardship and destitution as as foodbank usage, debt, and poverty rise to record level.

Councillor Warren said: "If the uplift is not retained it will leave millions across Scotland and the UK worse off, exacerbate poverty and inequality, and put beyond doubt that they have absolutely no intention of building a fair recovery from Covid.

"Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are not only threatening Scotland's recovery by imposing Tory austerity cuts on family incomes, but their actions will actively undermine anti-poverty measures implemented by the Scottish Government. The UK government need to U-turn on these plans and make the £20 UC uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.

"While the SNP government is putting money in people's pockets, the Tories are taking it away again – dragging our efforts to tackle poverty backwards. It speaks volumes that they are refusing to publish an impact assessment for these cuts."

Councillor Warren went on to say that the report exposed a "serious financial blow" for single parent families – already disproportionately affected by UK welfare cuts –should the plans go ahead, leaving a single parent in a full-time job on the National Living Wage with two children aged three and seven £66-a-week short of the Minimum Income Standard.

She added: "Westminster continues to show it cannot be trusted with Scotland's recovery.

"The only way to build a strong, fair and equal recovery is for Scotland to become an independent country with the full powers to create jobs, boost incomes and tackle poverty and inequality head on.”

The report comes just two days after a significant intervention by the Northern Research Group, which consists of around 50 Tory MPs, who echoed the SNP’s call for the UK government to make the Universal Credit £20 uplift permanent, saying it has been a "life-saver" for families and that doing so would “hamper” the UK’s economic recovery.

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