As of today, almost 16000 families in West Lothian are at greater risk of plunging into extreme poverty following the government’s decision to withdraw the Universal Credit uplift.
While Conservatives laughed along with the jester in chief at their autumn conference in Manchester, families across the UK faced up to the end of furlough, the loss of £80 a week, and a huge spike in energy bills.
According to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, responsible for administering Universal Credit, people only need to find a couple of extra hours a week of work to cover the shortfall. Presumably, those two hours of work are ready and waiting for people, as is the extra childcare provision needed. Meanwhile, back in the real world, thousands of working families are trying to decide between heating their homes or putting food on the table.
Withdrawing the Universal Credit uplift now, when furlough has ended, food and fuel shortages are rife, and energy prices are going through the roof, is simply cruel. It is unnecessary, ill-thought through and will hit the most vulnerable in our society the hardest. Something we are sadly becoming all too familiar with.
The West Lothian LibDems are calling for the reversal of this decision, before it has time to really hurt those who need our help the most.