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'Devastating' Universal Credit cut to impose economic hardship on tens of thousands of Ayrshire residents

Daily Record logo Daily Record 24/09/2021 Paul Behan

More than 20,000 Ayrshire residents will see their incomes slashed by £1,040 per year, by October, MPs have warned.

Allan Dorans MP has urged the UK government to perform a U-turn on the “devastating” Tory cuts to Universal Credit.

According to the Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP, new analysis shows 10,248 people in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock could see their incomes slashed by £1040 per year, from as early as next month.

And around 10,833 Kilmarnock and Loudoun residents are also set to be hit by the changes, according to the area's MP Alan Brown.

Analysis obtained from the House of Commons Library, using the latest Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) data, has revealed that almost half a million (477,996) people in Scotland could be hit by the cut – at a total cost to Scottish families of around £430million a year.

Of those, 10,248 live in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock – representing 18.2 per cent of the constituency adult population aged 16 to 65. While 17.4 per cent of Kilmarnock and Loudoun's population are facing tough cuts.

Mr Dorans has appealed to the UK Government to stop in its tracks over what he warns will be “damaging cuts” to household incomes.

He said: “It is crucial that the UK government scraps the devastating Tory Universal Credit cuts, which could slash the incomes of almost half a million Scottish families by £1040 from October.”

The overwhelming majority of Scottish MPs voted in the House of Commons to stop the Universal Credit cuts but the UK Government plan to impose them.

The SNP has urged the UK government to think again in light of the energy bills crisis- and make the £20 a week uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.

Mr Dorans continued: “At a time when energy bills and the cost of living are soaring, it would be unthinkable for the Tory government to go ahead with cuts that would decimate the incomes of around 10,248 local families in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock.

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans © Ayrshire Post Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Allan Dorans

“The UK is already suffering from a growing Tory poverty crisis, with the worst levels of poverty and inequality of any country in north west Europe- and the highest levels of in-work poverty this century as a direct result of Tory cuts, tax hikes and the cost of Brexit.

“I am urging the Chancellor (Rishi Sunak) to U-turn on these Tory cuts, and instead make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits - as part of a wider package of measures to protect household incomes.”

He added: “I will continue to press the UK government to reverse these damaging cuts but ultimately it is clear the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to build a strong, fair and equal recovery.”

Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP Alan Brown also called on the Government to reverse the decision.

He said: "It is crucial that the UK government scraps the devastating Tory Universal Credit cuts, which could slash the incomes of almost half a million Scottish families by £1040 from October.

"At a time when energy bills and the cost of living are soaring, it would be unthinkable for the Tory government to go ahead with cuts that would decimate the incomes of more than 10,000 in my constituency.

a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a window: Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP Alan Brown © Kilmarnock standard Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP Alan Brown

"The UK is already suffering from a growing Tory poverty crisis, with the worst levels of poverty and inequality of any country in north west Europe - and the highest levels of in-work poverty this century as a direct result of Tory cuts, tax hikes and the cost of Brexit.

“I am urging the Chancellor to U-turn on these Tory cuts, and instead make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits - as part of a wider package of measures to protect household incomes.

"I will continue to press the UK government to reverse these damaging cuts but ultimately it is clear the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to build a strong, fair and equal recovery."

However, a Government spokesperson said: “As announced by the Chancellor at the Budget, the uplift to Universal Credit was always temporary.

“It was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.

“Universal Credit will continue to provide vital support for those both in and out of work and it’s right that the Government should focus on our £400bn Plan for Jobs, supporting people back into work and supporting those already employed to progress and earn more.

“The Scottish Parliament has significant welfare powers and can top-up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility.”

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