The SNP has said that a 1.7% increase in working-age benefits does not make up for the damage caused by the four-year benefits freeze.
The SNP’s Brendan O’Hara MP has said that if there had been no freeze and affected benefits had been allowed to rise in line with Consumer Price Index (CPI) then cumulatively the affected benefits would have risen by 6.5% in nominal terms by 2019/20.
He adds that if the Tories were serious about ending their austerity agenda – which continues to entrench poverty across the UK – they would be making up the shortfall.
After the 1.7% increase a couple – with one or both over 25 – claiming Universal Credit will get an extra £1.95 per week standard allowance in 2020/21 but lost out on an extra £7.47 per week during the freeze.
When taking into account all uprating restrictions across the decade the Tories have been in power, affected DWP benefits are around 9% lower in 2020/21 than if CPI indexation had applied since 2010.
The Resolution Foundation has warned that the Tories’ 2019 general election manifesto risks child poverty reaching a 60-year high of 34% across the UK by 2023/24 – with a further £3.8 billion to be cut from working-age benefits.
By April, the four year freeze will have cost Scots £300 million a year, negatively affected 27 million people and plunged 400,000 people into poverty.
Commenting, the MP for Argyll and Bute said: “The SNP has repeatedly called on the Tories to scrap the benefits freeze – which has cost Scots £300 million a year.
“This up-rating is welcome but it is far too little and far too late.
“If the Tories really wanted to tackle the entrenched poverty their brutal austerity cuts have caused they would be making up the shortfall.
“Instead, they continue to impose policies that make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
“In Scotland, the SNP Scottish Government remain committed to funding a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect – despite the financial and constitutional constraints placed upon it by Westminster.
“If this Tory government will not take the necessary action and up-rate working-age benefits to make up the shortfall caused by the four-year freeze, then it should fully transfer social security to Scotland so we can get the job done ourselves.”