Harper calls for ‘cruel’ benefits cut to be halted

South Scotland list MSP Emma Harper wants Conservative MPs and MSPs across the region to join her in calling for the UK Government to reverse its decision to cut Universal Credit by £20 per week.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 10:34 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 10:34 am
Emma Harper criticised the Chancellor for increasing poverty while he is planning an extension to his mansion

In March of last year, when faced with the economic fallout from the pandemic, the UK Government recognised that social security rates were too low to support families when they need it most.

Consequently, Universal Credit was increased by £20 per week to help those most in need. However, this uplift is set to be axed in October.

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, published last week, revealed more than one in three (37 per cent) families with children in Scotland will lose £1,040 per year if the cut to Universal Credit goes ahead.

Ms Harper branded this cut as being completely “out of touch” with the difficulties being faced by families the length and breadth of South Scotland, and indeed the rest of the UK.

A fact which she says is backed up by the Chancellor making these cuts, while planning a new swimming pool, gym and tennis court at his £1.5m grade II listed manor house.

Ms Harper said; "The £20 extension to Universal Credit has been a lifeline for thousands of families across the South Scotland region, and indeed across the UK, who have suffered financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

“It beggars belief that Rishi Sunak is slashing the incomes of these families by £1,040 a year, while planning a luxury leisure extension to his million pound country mansion.

"After a decade of Conservative cuts, the UK already has the worst levels of poverty and inequality of any country in north west Europe and in-work poverty has risen to record levels in this century.

"The Chancellor might be living the high life with a personal swimming pool, gym, and tennis court, but many families will be on the breadline, struggling to get by, and worried about how they will afford to put food on the table.

“I am therefore calling on Scottish Conservative MPs and MSPs across South Scotland – Alister Jack, David Mundell, John Lamont, Finlay Carson, Rachel Hamilton and Oliver Mundell – to join me and do right by our constituents by calling for this cruel cut to be reversed immediately.”