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The Prime Minister has been urged by West Dunbartonshire’s MP to rethink ‘devastating’ Tory proposals to cut a £20 per week uplift of Universal Credit from benefit claimants.

Local SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes hit out at the UK government’s plans to cut up to £1,000 per year from people in receipt of Universal Credit, warning it would risk pushing thousands of desperate families in West Dunbartonshire into financial hardship.

A report published by the Resolution Foundation estimates that if the Westminster government goes ahead with its proposals to reduce Universal Credit by £20 a week from April, it could see the incomes of low-income families fall by more than four per cent (4%). It would also result in a rise in relative poverty from 21% to 23% by 2024/25, with a further 820,000 children expected to fall into poverty.

Following a vote on Monday in the House of Commons on extending the provision, the Tories have been criticised by anti-poverty campaigners for failing to support keeping in place the ‘lifeline’ financial support beyond the end of March.

The SNP have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to people on legacy benefits to help hard-hit families through the long-term financial impacts of the Covid crisis.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:

“As West Dunbartonshire’s MP, I voted to oppose these Tory cuts to Universal Credit because it would be devastating for local families to lose this vital financial support.

“£20 per week may not seem much to Boris Johnson and his Tory Cabinet, but it makes all the difference to many of my constituents in West Dunbartonshire struggling to get by just now.

“It’s shameful that Scotland’s six Tory MPs have once again chosen to sit on their hands as Westminster prepares to push tens of thousands of Scotland’s poorest families into hardship.

“Across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale there are 8,000 people who rely on Universal Credit, not including the thousands of others who haven’t received a penny of additional support.

“If the Prime Minister is serious about helping hard-hit households through the long-term economic impacts of the Covid crisis, he must act now to ensure the £20 uplift to Universal Credit is made permanent and extended to legacy benefits.”

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