SNP minister claims to end “ruthless act” of rising universal credit
The SNP’s social justice secretary said the UK government ending the £ 20 universal credit hike would be a “ruthless act” that would push thousands of children into poverty.
Shona Robison spoke as MSPs debated how to tackle poverty on Tuesday.
A report from Loughborough University on behalf of the End Child Poverty Coalition last month found that child poverty levels have increased in all Scottish local authorities over the past six years.
The Scottish government is calling for all powers relating to employment and social security to be devolved to the UK government.
But, opposition parties have said the Scottish government needs to do more with its existing powers before demanding more accountability from Westminster.
Ms Robison said: ‘If we didn’t need it already, the pandemic has further proven that Britain’s welfare system is not up to its purpose and risks undermining our hard-earned progress.
‘This is the system the Scots have to rely on and we shouldn’t have to tone down policies we don’t agree with, like the £ 80million we spent last year in payments of discretionary housing to completely mitigate the room tax and help people with housing – money we could invest in other anti-poverty measures.
READ MORE: SNP pledges to ‘eradicate poverty’ despite fight against child poverty
“We should have these powers in our hands in this Parliament.
“Removing the £ 20 universal credit hike will be a ruthless act that will push 60,000 families across Scotland, including 20,000 children, into poverty and ensure that families unable to work will receive on average 1 £ 600 less a year than they are. would have done a decade ago in 2011.
“It’s huge, it’s a huge threat to any progress we could make here.”
The Social Justice Secretary also announced an additional £ 250,000 for British Red Cross crisis support payments to help those most at risk of deprivation.
The government will also be testing “family welfare budgets” in partnership with the Hunter Foundation, she said.
The Scottish Tories accused the government of failing to implement all of the benefit powers it received in the Scotland Act of 2016.
Social Justice Party spokesman Miles Briggs said he feared the pandemic would push more people into homelessness, saying there should be a national ‘housing first’ program .
He also called for doing more to provide health services to people facing homelessness, saying: “I am disappointed that we are seeing very little progress in providing and accessing health services for people facing homelessness. these problems.
“All these powers belong to us in this parliament.”
Quoting a voter, he said homeless people felt they were treated as “second class citizens” because they were not allowed to register at normal medical offices.
Mr Briggs said his party is also backing the doubling of the Scottish decentralized children’s payment benefit as soon as possible.
Scottish Labor spokesperson for social justice, Pam Duncan-Glancy, said: “Right now all we’re doing with the powers we have over disability benefits is improving their disability benefits. administration, which – I concede – needs to be improved.
“But at the end of the day, our ambitions must be greater than administering it a little better than the Conservatives.
“Several years after gaining powers in this area, we are still using the old rotten DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) rulebook – it’s still the people [that] the DWP says it deserves the support that gets it.
Scottish Greens MP Maggie Chapman spoke about her amendment, which called on the Scottish government to work with Westminster and come up with pilot projects for a universal basic income.
“We are here to fix the system, not to fix its faults,” Ms. Chapman said.
“We are here to make hope possible and that requires us to be radical.”
Scottish Lib Dem MP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: ‘This government cannot blame the full extent of poverty that exists in this country on a government operating from another city – not when it has been empowered for years to fight this poverty but still does not elect to. ”