Renfrewshire MP Mhairi Black has said that Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, must use the budget to announce a halt in the roll-out of Universal Credit, after a new study showed that reversing the cuts to Universal Credit could help alleviate the poor economic prospects young people currently face.
The UK Government have already axed housing benefit for those aged 18-21 – and the new report argues that the government could support people under the Universal Credit regime by restoring work allowances for people with children to pre-2016 levels.
A recent IFS report showed that 5.2 million children in the UK will be in poverty in the next five years. The Scottish government unanimously passed a child poverty bill in Holyrood last week to tackle child poverty in Scotland with ambitious targets to dramatically reduce child poverty by 2030.
The bill also sets out reporting mechanisms for progress towards poverty reducing targets, with delivery plans to be published in April 2018, 2021 and 2026. It places duties on the government, local authorities and health boards to report annually on what actions they have taken to reduce child poverty, and plans are in place to establish a Poverty and Inequality Commission.
SNP Youth Spokesperson Mhairi Black MP, said: “The Scottish government understand the crisis that is facing our young people and I was really pleased to see the ambitious child poverty bill passed by the Scottish Government last week.
“The Scottish Government can only mitigate so many Tory cuts and the threat of poverty facing our young people in the future by policies such as Universal Credit in its current form must be acted upon now.
“I am calling on the Chancellor to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit in the budget, it is time the Conservative government took responsibility for their actions and admit that in its current form Universal Credit is a broken system.
“Many charities, organisations and politicians have all called for a halt in this benefit and the UK Government have refused to listen.”