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Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has called on the UK government to uprate benefits in line with inflation, as 32% of working-age families in West Dunbartonshire face the largest ever real terms cut to their social security payments.

Across West Dunbartonshire, 12,692 households in receipt of means-tested benefits are set to be subjected to the largest real terms permanent benefits cut in a single year, if Tory plans to uprate benefits in line with earnings rather than inflation come to fruition – according to analysis from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

Working-age benefits tend to be uprated along with inflation every April, which is currently at 10.1%. But the UK government has suggested it could switch to uprate them in line with average earnings instead, which is just 5.5% – representing the biggest real terms cuts to social security in history.

Speaking in the House of Commons, local MP Martin warned UK Ministers that “lives would be lost” due to further austerity imposed by Westminster. During Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) questions, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:

“The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has warned that if social security does not get uprated with inflation, it will be the largest permanent deliberate real-terms cut to the basic rate of social security by a British Government in history.

“According to the Child Poverty Action Group, that would push 200,000 children into poverty. Even the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights warns that it will mean that ‘lives will be lost’. What will the Minister do to stop that?”

Responding on behalf of the UK government, DWP Minister Mims Davies said:

“I thank the hon. Gentleman for that question and note that he will be visiting his Dumbarton Jobcentre Plus shortly, which I am sure will help him to see the range of interventions in jobcentres, as well as the benefits calculator and the cost of living interventions on”

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