Helensburgh’s MSP has slammed the UK Government over its decision to make “callous” cuts to Universal Credit.

Jackie Baillie hit out after Conservative work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey told Parliament that the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit will be phased out from late September.

Last month, the Advertiser revealed statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that showed a total of 1,297 people registered for Universal Credit through Helensburgh’s Jobcentre in May 2021.

The number of registered claimants for the benefit in Helensburgh soared from 677 people in March 2020, just before the pandemic hit, to 1,314 in February 2021.

READ MORE: Universal Credit claimant numbers rise again in Helensburgh

Ms Baillie said: “There is near universal opposition to this shameful and callous cut to Universal Credit.

“By the government’s own reckoning, there could be hundreds of thousands or even millions self-isolating in September because of the UK and Scottish Government’s Covid strategy, yet Boris Johnson sees fit to slash support for those in need. I know of many families and individuals who have really relied on this uplift and removing it while the pandemic is ongoing will be devastating to them.

“Reducing Universal Credit will hit the most vulnerable people in our society hardest. It’s time the UK Government sees sense, backs struggling families and reverses this cut.”

Anti-poverty charities say cutting Universal Credit by £1,040 per year will lead to soaring child poverty rates.

READ MORE: Shocking DWP figures reveal Helensburgh benefit claimant numbers have doubled since the start of the pandemic

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Throughout this crisis, the government has spent £400bn protecting people’s jobs, livelihoods and supporting businesses and public services.

"We extended economic support well beyond the end of the roadmap, right through to the end of September.

“That includes unprecedented welfare support.

“More than £9bn will have been spent on the uplift by the time it ends in September.

“It is right that economic support is wound down as we come out of this crisis and we focus on helping people back into work.

“We have purposely provided a three month cushion once restrictions are lifted in order to support those who most need it.”

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