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Almost 20,000 families could lose up more than £1000 a year due to the UK government's 'devastating' cut to Universal Credit, according to Highland MP Drew Hendry

By Scott Maclennan

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MP Drew Hendry.
MP Drew Hendry.

A NORTH MP has warned that close to 20,000 families across the Highlands could see their income slashed by up to £1040 a year from this month.

Drew Hendry called on the UK government to U-turn on what he called the “devastating” cut to Universal Credit.

New analysis shows 8918 people in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey; 5198 in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross; and 4710 in Ross, Skye and Lochaber could lose out.

In all, 18,826 Highlanders could be affected according to analysis from the House of Commons Library, using the latest Department of Work and Pensions data.

In Scotland as a whole 477,996 people could be hit by the cut – at a total cost to Scottish families of around £430 million annually.

The overwhelming majority of Scottish MPs voted in the House of Commons to stop the Universal Credit cuts, but the government plans to impose them anyway.

The SNP has urged the UK government to think again in light of the energy bills crisis, make the £20 a week uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits.

Inverness MP Mr Hendry said: “Planned Tory cuts to Universal Credit will decimate the incomes of around 9000 local families in this constituency at the very time energy prices and inflation are set to soar.

“We are already seeing the highest levels of in-work poverty this century because of Tory cuts, tax hikes and their Brexit shambles. People are going out to work day in, day out and still can’t afford to put food on their tables – only the Tories could possibly think the answer is to take even more money out of their pockets.

“The levels of inequality in the UK are an utter disgrace, not to mention the fact that the UK has the worst levels of poverty in northern Europe.

“Instead of attacking those with the least, the Chancellor needs to heed our calls and make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent.”

Related Story – Our Man In Westminster: Universal Credit has never offered sufficient support

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