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Politicians and charities are united in calls for the UK Government to cancel this week’s callous cut to Universal Credit, which will plunge 60,000 families and 20,000 children in Scotland into poverty, and hundreds of thousands of others into hardship.

I recently visited Levenmouth Foodbank where staff and volunteers were keen to discuss the Trussell Trust’s ‘Keep the Lifeline’ campaign which calls on the UK Government to stop “the biggest overnight cut to social security

since the Second World War.” Foodbank staff shared concerns about an anticipated increase in referrals this month as the community is hit by the cuts, and the service’s ability to manage this safely.

The UK-wide foodbank network has found that for the average person on Universal Credit, the cut of £20 a week represents a loss of 13% of income, and for some families the figure will be as high as 21%.

In the space of just over a week we’ve seen the UK Government use its parliamentary majority to force through a string of measures that will hit hard at people on low incomes, increasing National Insurance contributions so that people in low paid jobs will pay more, voting to go ahead with this £20 a week cut to despite being told this would plunge people into poverty, and putting forward legislation to water down the guarantees they’ve previously given on people’s pensions.

Almost 1 million people will be forced into poverty and children will pay the price if the Tory Government does not U-turn on these cuts. Children in low income families in Scotland will suffer as the cut will undermine the Scottish Child Payment brought in by the SNP Scottish Government to tackle child poverty. The economy, as we try to recover, will also pay the price if this cut goes ahead. We know that putting money in people’s pockets stimulates the economy, and we need that right now.

I and my colleagues will continue to oppose all these cuts but there’s something seriously wrong with the system if it allows such an uncaring Government to impose these policies that we have so decisively rejected at the ballot box.

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