Holyrood requests benefits changes from Westminster amid no-deal Brexit poverty fears

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The Scottish Government has requested a number of changes to benefits from Westminster to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

In a letter to UK Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, Scottish Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell claimed 130,000 people in Scotland would fall into poverty as a result of a no-deal Brexit on October 31, according to "Scottish Government analysis".

The Scottish Government fears thousands could be pushed towards poverty in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Picture: John Devlin

The Scottish Government fears thousands could be pushed towards poverty in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Picture: John Devlin

In a bid to mitigate the risks, Ms Campbell called for a UK-wide campaign to encourage uptake of benefits, as well as changes to Universal Credit - including cutting the minimum waiting time for the first payment.

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She also called on the UK Government to remove the benefit cap and lift the freeze on working age benefits.

Ms Campbell said: "A no-deal Brexit is a disastrous option that the Scottish Parliament has made clear should not be considered.

"Tens of thousands of people in Scotland are at risk of being pushed into poverty. If the UK Government sanctions this highly damaging course of action, it must deal with the consequences.

"Action from the UK Government is needed now to deal with the magnitude of crisis a no-deal Brexit would cause.

"That is why I have made clear that the Department of Work and Pensions must try to mitigate the worst effects of their actions on those on low incomes and in poverty."

A DWP spokesman said: "We are focused on delivering a Brexit that works for the whole of the UK, including Scotland.

"The UK's employment rate is the highest it has ever been and wages are continuing to outstrip inflation, boosting spending power for households.

"We are committed to helping everyone access fulfilling work while ensuring vulnerable people get the support they need, and leaving the EU on October 31 will not change that."

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