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The SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson has demanded that the Chancellor end the cruel Tory benefits freeze at the upcoming Spring Statement, as new figures show the cost of basic goods has sky-rocketed.

New figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that whilst the 2016 benefits freeze has kept most working-age benefits at the same value as 2015/16, essential items such as sugar and butter have increased by 17% and 23.1% respectively since benefits were frozen.

Neil Gray MP has argued that it is therefore even more imperative that the Chancellor use his Spring Statement to lift the freeze.

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The SNP has previously highlighted that the final year of the benefit freeze will cut more than the Government originally intended – more than an extra billion, bringing the total cut up to £4.4bn in the final year alone.

This is more than the UK Government are spending on the boost to the Universal Credit Work Allowance they announced in the Budget 2018 in total up to 2022.

Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Neil Gray MP said: “With the price of the most basic household items increasing steeply in the last few years, many people are struggling to make ends meet due to the punitive Tory benefits freeze – a policy that has held their payments static for over three years.

“As the government continues to prioritise a hard-Brexit, which could see families thousands of pounds even worse off, the Chancellor must finally step up and scrap this utterly punitive benefit freeze at the Spring Statement and help those on the lowest incomes that this government has been so intent on punishing.

“People on low incomes are struggling to make ends meet as prices continue to rise as a result of Brexit uncertainty, and the UK government has done nothing about it.

The quickest and easiest way to get money into people’s pockets as soon as possible would be to lift the benefit freeze a year early and boost these benefits by inflation.”

Disclaimer: This is an official press release by the Scottish National Party (SNP). Headline and images added by Welfare Weekly.