WATCH: Emma Roddick MSP speaks out against Tory-led Universal Credit cuts

Emma stands in Parliament delivering a speech on Tory cuts to Universal Credit. Her arm is raised and she has an incredulous expression on her face

The SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands challenged the UK Government in a Scottish Parliament debate today, describing plans to end the £20 Universal Credit uplift as “as ridiculous as it is morally reprehensible.”

The Universal Credit uplift was introduced six months ago in response to rising household bills and formed a vital lifeline for many claimants throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech to the Scottish Parliament, Roddick called UK Government plans to end the uplift “the biggest overnight cut to social security in my and most people here’s lifetimes” and accused the Conservatives of “using poverty as a punishment for not working hard enough”. She also noted that removing the uplift could plunge tens of thousands of residents of Scotland, including over 20,000 children, into poverty.

Speaking on the subject after the debate, Roddick said:

“This measure can only be described as a direct attack by the UK Government on the poorest in our society. According to statistics provided by the Trussell Trust, 1 in 5 Universal Credit claimants would struggle to get to work or pay their heating bill over winter, and over 115,000 people would likely have to skip meals.

“Boris Johnson’s government cannot be described as compassionate in the best of times but to cut Universal Credit at a time when household bills are continuing to rise due to rising fuel prices is particularly cruel. It contrasts with the actions of the Scottish Government, which has recently announced a national roll-out date for the new Scottish Child Disability Payment and whose Scottish Child Payment has already helped more than 108,000 children across Scotland.

“This is truly a tale of two governments and illustrates well why Scotland requires the powers of independence to truly transform our society into the kinder and more caring one we all desire.”