Ian Blackford MP

Tories Must U-Turn on Universal Credit Cuts

The SNP has said Boris Johnson must U-turn on Tory cuts to Universal Credit – and deliver urgent support for the 3 million people who have been excluded from UK covid-19 support.

Speaking at Prime Ministers Questions, Ian Blackford MP (pictured) challenged Boris Johnson to make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent and extend it to legacy benefits – warning the “UK faces a growing Tory unemployment crisis” as a result of Tory cuts and delays in support.

The SNP Westminster Leader also demanded the Prime Minister urgently deliver support for the 3 million excluded in the run-up to Christmas – warning he had “repeatedly refused to lift a finger” to help these families since the start of the crisis, who would face a “bitter winter” if the Tory government failed to act.

It comes as new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published yesterday, revealed UK unemployment has risen to 4.8%, with 782,000 fewer people in employment since March, and the number of redundancies at a record high of 314,000 – a record increase of 181,000 on the quarter.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:

“The UK faces a growing Tory unemployment crisis.

“It is crucial that Boris Johnson urgently gets a grip, U-turns on planned Tory cuts to Universal Credit, and takes immediate action to support the 3million people who have been completely excluded from UK Covid-19 support schemes.

“It’s now beyond doubt that the Chancellor’s last-minute furlough U-turn came far too late for thousands who have already lost their jobs, as a result of Tory cuts and delays.

“UK unemployment has risen to 4.8%, redundancies are at a record high, and nearly 800,000 fewer people are in employment.

“It is shameful that Boris Johnson still refuses to give a commitment to support those who have lost their jobs and incomes.

“Since the start of this crisis, the Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to lift a finger to help the excluded.

“In the run-up to Christmas, the forgotten millions will be among those struggling to get by and worried about their future.

“The Tory government must finally fix the serious gaps in its support schemes to help the excluded, make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent and extend it to legacy benefits – or Boris Johnson will be to blame for imposing a bitter winter on millions of families across the UK.

“Scotland shouldn’t have to wait for Westminster to act.

“By withholding investment and blocking the devolution of financial powers, the Tory government has caused mass unemployment and hindered Scotland’s ability to respond to this crisis.

“It is clear the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is to become an independent country.”