Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:28 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Neil Gray Neil Gray Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions) 1:28 pm, 17th October 2018

I will give again later, but I will make some progress now.

When universal credit is thrust on people, it is catastrophic. The Secretary of State said as much last week. For many people on universal credit, incomes will fall by £2,400 a year, which is £200 a month or £50 per week. The Child Poverty Action Group estimates that taking all working age social security cuts together since 2010, they reach £37 billion. The benefit freeze is the single biggest cut, as support has failed to match rent or inflation rises for years. Over the decade, this will cost the poorest 10% of households over 10% of their income, and by far the worst hit are families with children and particularly those with more than two children.

Some 500,000 disabled people have lost £30 per week from the ESA work-related activity component cut, while 100,000 disabled children and 230,000 severely disabled adults will also have their money cut via universal credit. Bringing that together, the CPAG estimates that a single parent with a disabled child is set to lose £10,000 from tax and benefit reforms this decade. That should bring shame on every single Government Member. We cannot sit back and allow that to continue; we have to act for proper change. This does not need tinkering at the edges, but fundamental reform.