MSPs will today [Tuesday] urge the Chancellor (pictured) to make the £20 Universal Credit increase permanent and to extend this vital safety net to those on legacy benefits, to avoid more people being forced into hardship by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Keith Brown MSP will lead a Members’ Debate at Holyrood today [Tuesday], warning that the uplift has been a lifeline for many people and families over the last few months, and to axe the support next year would punish low income households, many new to Universal Credit.
More than 50 front-line organisations, including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, have warned of a “rising tide of poverty” if the UK government goes ahead with its plan to axe the £20 increase in April.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Keith Brown MSP said:
“When the increase was announced, the Chancellor said he wanted to “strengthen the safety net.”
“To withdraw that safety net in April 2021 when the economic impact of the pandemic will be hitting many hard, would be cruel and inflict suffering on – according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – 16 million people across the UK from households struggling to keep their heads above water in these difficult times.
“The Tories have spent ten years systematically and brutally dismantling the safety net of the welfare system with their austerity agenda.
“This temporary uplift was therefore welcome.
“However, an increase was needed before the pandemic, and is vital now.
“The Chancellor must make clear now, not next year, this much needed support will not be taken away from people at the very time the need it most.
“They must make the Universal Credit increase permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.”