The UK Government’s decision to cut Universal Credit has been slammed as “shameful and callous”.
Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey confirmed on Wednesday that the £20 uplift to the payment will start to be phased out from late September.
The temporary uplift of £20 per week was introduced by UK ministers in April last year, with the aim of protecting people during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Coffey told MPs that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be contacting claimants so they are aware that their payments will change.
It is despite opposition parties, as well as charities, calling for an extension of the uplift, having warned that the cut could damage living standards.
Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray urged the UK Government to reverse the cut.
“There is near universal opposition to this shameful and callous cut to Universal Credit,” said Murray.
“By the government’s own reckoning, there could be hundreds of thousands or even millions of people self-isolating in September because of Boris Johnson’s Covid strategy, yet the Tories see fit to slash support for those in need.
“Reducing Universal Credit will hit the most vulnerable people in our society hardest. It’s time the Tories see sense, back struggling families and reverse this cut.”
The SNP’s work and pensions spokesperson, David Linden, earlier warned Boris Johnson he would face “monumental consequences” if his government goes ahead with the cut.
“We know that by making the uplift permanent, we could prevent as many as 700,000 people – of which 300,000 are children and 60,000 live in Scotland – from being plunged into poverty, yet these cruel cuts remain on the table,” said the SNP MP.
“In contrast, the SNP Scottish Government are introducing policies such as the Scottish Child Payment which puts money into people’s pockets – not out of them.
“Scotland continues to be extremely vulnerable under Westminster control. It is clear that the only way to keep Scotland safe from the long-term damage of Tory cuts is to become an independent country with the full powers needed to build a strong, fair and progressive country.”