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Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, has called on the Tory UK Government to end its freeze on working-age benefits.

The SNP MP has added his support to a campaign by the Poverty Alliance urging the UK Government to scrap the four year benefits freeze in the face of rising inflation and increases in living costs.

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond is under pressure to use his Autumn budget to reverse the freeze on working-age benefits, including Jobseekers’ Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and child and working tax credits.

Research shows that the freeze in the uprating of working-age benefits will lead to an average income loss to families of £450 per year, affecting 700,000 households across Scotland by the end of the decade.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:

“Too many low-income families in West Dunbartonshire and across the country are struggling financially as a result of austerity, rising inflation and increasing living costs. By freezing benefits for four years – at a time when household costs are rising – the Tory UK Government is pushing more and more families further into poverty.

“I would urge the UK Chancellor to use the Autumn budget to scrap the freeze on working-age benefits and restore fairness to the social security system. There cannot be any justification for continuing down this path of austerity when inflation is expected to rise further; making it even more difficult for struggling families to make ends meet.

“I fully support the campaign to reverse the damaging benefits freeze and will vote to end this regressive policy at every opportunity.”

Carla McCormack, policy & parliamentary officer at the Poverty Alliance, said:

“Reversing the freeze on benefits would prevent many families from falling into poverty, and help lift others out of poverty.

“The freeze on working age benefits is expected to affect 700,000 families across Scotland, with an average loss of £450 per year. This is a substantial amount, especially for families on low incomes.”

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