Friday, November 22, 2019
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Letter demands ‘urgent action’ on Universal Credit

The SNP have issued a letter challenging Amber Rudd to take action to prevent people falling into further austerity as she begins her first week as newly-appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

After Ms Rudd’s first appearance at Work and Pensions Questions, SNP MP Neil Gray challenged the Secretary of State to use the powers of her office and take action on the well-documented issues that Universal Credit rollout has encountered.

The SNP letter calls on the Secretary of State to:

• Reverse her Department’s punitive benefit cuts, including the £4.7bn cut due next year from the benefit freeze, benefit cap and cuts to ESA.
• Scrap the abhorrent two child cap and rape clause
• Halt the roll-out of Universal Credit until it is urgently fixed.
• Boost wages and lift the minimum wage to a real living wage.
• Take action to finally support women born in the 1950s who have been affected by the acceleration of the increase in the state pension age.

DWP HQ, Caxton House, London. Photo: Paul Billanie for Welfare Weekly.

Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Neil Gray MP said: “Given the precarious position of the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State has more power than her predecessors to address the concerns of charities and organisations and act to improve Universal Credit for millions of people across the UK.

“The time for listening is over; now is the time to act.

“The damning report from the United Nations by Philip Alston confirmed that poverty is this Tory government’s political choice – the Secretary of State’s head in the sand approach to this criticism is itself a shocking indictment of this government’s attitude.

“Any movement to mitigate the worst of the problems that the rollout of Universal Credit has caused is welcome, but it seems that despite a change in personnel, the UK government doesn’t plan to deviate from its piecemeal approach to reforming Universal Credit.”

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