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SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has spoken out against the UK Government’s cut to Universal Credit payments which came into effect this week.

An uplift of £20 per week was introduced at the beginning of the pandemic, but despite widespread outcry, the Westminster Government proceeded in reducing Universal Credit payments down to pre-pandemic rates.

This means a reduction of around £85 per month, or £1,040 a year.  Universal Credit is now worth less in real terms than it was when the benefit was first introduced in 2013, despite costs of living having risen.

A total of 1311 households in the Western Isles currently claim Universal Credit and will be detrimentally impacted by this cut.

Allan, who met with Western Isles Citizens Advice last month to discuss the local impact of these cuts, commented:

“This decision to abruptly reduce Universal Credit payments lacks any sense of compassion or understanding of the difficulties faced daily by families. It will push thousands of households across Scotland, including people both in and out of work here in the Western Isles, into poverty, and completely undermines the benefits of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Child Payment. This highlights the difficulty in trying to tackle poverty when decisions taken elsewhere can undermine Scotland’s own efforts.”