Thousands to lose out if UK Government ends vital Covid support, says MSP

Skye MSP Kate Forbes, pictured, has welcomed fresh assurances from NHS Highland that a new renal dialysis service on Skye will be 'ready for patients in December'. NO-F-42-KATE-FORBES-SERIOUS-01.jpg

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Thousands across the Highlands will lose out under UK Government plans to end vital coronavirus support to people receiving benefits such as Universal Credit.

That’s the fear of Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes, who says around 16,500 households are receiving Universal Credit across the region, but they will likely be impacted as the £20-a-week uplift, brought in to provide a lifeline during the pandemic, looks set to be scrapped. Instead the Tories are expected to reinstate the Minimum Income Floor by April 2021.

A Scottish Government report calculates the decision will cost households in Scotland almost half a billion pounds in 2021-22.

Ms Forbes said: ‘Universal Credit, as flawed as it is, has been a lifeline for many constituents during this very difficult time.

‘Many have found themselves with no other choice but to apply for universal credit and many have then written to me asking how the UK Government can expect anyone to survive on the Universal Credit amounts.

‘The additional £20 has made a difference. It must be continued and extended. If the Chancellor can extend furlough and the Self-Employed Income Support, he should also extend the more generous Universal Credit amounts.’