SNP MP for Gordon, Richard Thomson, has called on the UK Government to abandon plans to scrap the current £20 weekly uplift in Universal Credit and to make it permanent.
The £20 increase in Universal Credit is set to expire in March. There are fears that if the uplift is withdrawn, it could push a further 820,000 children into poverty. A study by the Resolution Foundation has indicated that any such move would see the income of families fall by more than 4% and increase real poverty from 21% to 23% by 2024/25.
Mr Thomson’s call comes as the latest Office for National Statistics labour market survey revealed that redundancies across the UK hit a record high of 370,000 in December, with at least 819,000 fewer people in employment in November than February.
In a vote on the issue which took place last night, Mr Thomson was one of 278 MPs who voted to demand that the UK Government abandon its plan. The motion passed after the Prime Minister ordered Conservative MPs to abstain on the issue.
Not a single Scottish Conservative MP broke ranks with the Prime Minister in order to show support for maintaining the uplift.
Mr Thomson said: “The UK Government’s plans to slash the incomes of vulnerable families by over £1,000 a year is both cruel and economically inept, and will force families and children across Gordon and the North East into deeper poverty through no fault of their own.
“It is particularly disappointing that not one of the Scottish Conservative MPs was prepared to speak up for their most financially vulnerable constituents by joining calls to retain this uplift.
“This fuels my belief that a Basic Universal Income would assist our communities and ensure those in need are not left scrambling to cover the cost of living. The Conservatives should listen to the overwhelming public opinion on this matter and maintain this very modest measure to help protect those who need this help most right now.