UK Government urged to U-turn on universal credit as think-tank warns it will drive 820,000 children into poverty

The UK Government has been urged to U-turn on Universal Credit as a think-tank warned it will drive 820,000 children into poverty.

The UK Government has been urged to U-turn on Universal Credit as a think tank warned it will drive 820,000 children into poverty.

MPs will on Monday vote on an opposition day motion from the Labour party, opposing plans to cut the temporary £20-a-week uplift.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered his MPs to abstain on the vote, accusing Labour of trying to politicise the issue of increasing payment for the poorest.

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It comes as a report by the Resolution Foundation warned the cut would see the incomes of low-income families fall more than by 4 per cent, and drive up relative poverty from 21 per cent to 23 per cent by 2024/25.

They also claim it would drive a further 820,000 children into poverty.

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The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford called for the Prime Minister to reverse his “cruel decision” and called for the Scottish Tories to vote for a permanent increase.

He said: "The Tory plan to cut Universal Credit for millions of families is cruel, indefensible and comes at the worst possible time – in the middle of an economic crisis and global pandemic.

"It beggars belief the Tories are even considering pushing more families into poverty by cutting the incomes of six million people and demonstrates yet again that Westminster cannot be trusted to protect the interests of families in Scotland.

"The SNP has consistently called for a permanent £20-a-week uplift to Universal Credit and legacy benefits, as part of a wider package to boost incomes after a decade of Tory austerity.

“If the Tories push ahead with these devastating cuts, on top of a public sector pay freeze, it will hammer families and further expose their broken promises of 'levelling up' as nothing more than empty words.

"Douglas Ross must order his six Scottish Tory MPs to vote with the SNP for a permanent increase to Universal Credit and legacy benefits – and back our calls for the devolution of financial, welfare and employment powers to protect families in Scotland.

"While the SNP government has led the way in tackling poverty, with new benefits like the Scottish Child Payment, Westminster has taken money away from families and increased poverty with a decade of Tory cuts.”

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