Universal Credit cut will have largest impact in Glasgow, study finds
Glasgow contains the three Scottish constituencies which will be hit most heavily by the cut to Universal Credit, a study has found.
A £20 uplift in weekly payments, which was part of the UK Government’s Covid support, is due to end in October.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has analysed which UK Parliament constituencies will be most affected by the cut.
Across Scotland, the research found 37% of working-age families with children would lose £1,034 per year.
Glasgow contains the three constituencies in which more than half of all families with children would be affected: Glasgow central (63%) Glasgow South West (55%) and Glasgow North East (54%).
Among the constituencies in which more than four in ten families with children will be affected are Dundee West (49%); Kirkaldy & Cowdenbeath (44%); Aberdeen North (42%) North Ayrshire & Arran (43%).
Chris Birt, deputy director for Scotland at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “In just over a month, in the face of widespread opposition, the UK Government plans to impose the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the Second World War.
“Cutting Universal Credit will have deep and devastating consequences for a huge number of families with children across Scotland.
“Child poverty was already rising before Covid-19; it is a scandal that the UK Government’s strategy for economic recovery is to plunge families who are already struggling into deeper poverty and debt.”
He added: “Now is the time for MPs and MSPs of all stripes to step up and oppose this cut to their constituents’ incomes.
“It’s not too late for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to change course and reverse this decision.
“While the responsibility for this devastating cut lies with the UK Government, it highlights the urgent need for the full roll-out and doubling of the Scottish Child Payment to support families with children in Scotland.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the Government is “not done helping people” despite the end of the temporary £20 uplift.
During a visit to Scotland last month, he said the focus was on helping people find work and that the latest data on the labour market was “really positive”.
A UK Government spokesman said: “The temporary uplift to Universal Credit was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.
“Universal Credit will continue to provide a vital safety net and with record vacancies available, alongside the successful vaccination rollout, it’s right that we now focus on our Plan for Jobs, helping claimants to increase their earnings by boosting their skills and getting into work, progressing in work or increasing their hours.
“The Scottish Parliament has significant welfare powers and can top-up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility.”
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