A new report from Citizens Advice Scotland on Universal Credit underlines the struggles households across Scotland are facing - revealing that the need for food banks has grown by almost a third (31%) since September 2021.
The report calls on Westminster to:
Immediately uprate Universal Credit and all legacy benefits
Scrap the benefit cap and the two-child limit
Pause the collection of all DWP and HMRC debts, and
Convert all Advance Payments at the beginning of UC claims into non-repayable assessment period grants.
Whilst recent research has shown that the efforts of the SNP Government is making a real difference to those struggling, through actions such as uprating devolved benefits and introducing the ‘game changing’ Scottish Child Payment, ‘progress is being undermined by years of austerity policies and a Tory Government paralysed by a two month leadership contest.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“While people across North Ayrshire are tightening their belts due to with continuing price increases, the UK Tory Government fails to take any meaningful action to help.
“Unfortunately, we will all have to sit through a summer of a Tory Government that will not make any bold decisions, and Boris Johnson himself has said he won't be doing anything groundbreaking before he leaves. There is only one thing on their minds and that is their party leadership contest.
"Worst of all, not one Tory leadership candidate seems interested in addressing child poverty and the cost of living crisis – to them it isn't a big deal so there won’t be a plan.
“We will be better off with the full powers of independence – enabling us to build a fairer, more prosperous and happier Scotland.”
The Citizens Advice Scotland Report reads:
“Previous research conducted by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) in early 2021 found that many people on Universal Credit (UC) were already cutting back on food, utilities, and other essentials to make ends meet.
“The UK Government’s decision in October 2021 to then cut UC by £20-per-week, just as energy and food prices began to skyrocket, has only made the situation more difficult.” Citizens Advice Scotland Report