The SNP has renewed calls for the Tory government to scrap the benefit cap to avoid more families and children being pushed into poverty – as new figures show 10,000 more households have been hit by the “cruel” policy.
The UK government’s own new figures show that the number of households hit by the benefit cap increased from 170,000 in August 2020 to 180,000 in November 2020 (the latest available date for which figures are available).
61% (110,000) of the households that had their benefits capped were single parent families and just over half (51%) of all capped households with children contained a child under the age of 5 (76,000 households). 150,000 capped households (84%) contained children.
At the beginning of the year, figures revealed that the number of Scottish households affected by the cap nearly doubled during the pandemic, from around 3,300 in January to around 6,400 in August.
The figures come just after the SNP announced plans to double the Scottish Child Payment – a social security payment that is not capped and that has been described as ‘game-changing’ by charities.
Commenting, former SNP Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and SNP candidate for Airdrie and Shotts, Neil Gray, said: “Whilst the Tories at Westminster continue to impose cruel policies like the benefit cap, the two-child cap and the bedroom tax – which are hitting children and the most vulnerable the hardest – the SNP in government have pledged to double the Scottish Child Payment and will continue to mitigate the bedroom tax.
“Scotland shouldn’t have to mitigate damaging policies from Westminster. It is clearer than ever, that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests, and build the fair and equal society we all want to see, is for Scotland to become an independent country.
“The issue at the election in May will be this: who has the right to decide what sort of country Scotland should be after the pandemic – people in Scotland or Boris Johnson?
“With both votes SNP on 6th May we can put Scotland’s recovery in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.