£100 hardship payment boost

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A move to provide low inclome families with a further £100 Covid hardship payment has been welcomed.

Highlands and Islands MSP Maree Todd has backed the funding boost aimed at tackling poverty. It follows a £37.2 million funding package announced by the Finance Secretary Kate Forbes in the Scottish Parliament.

The £100 payment will be made to qualifying low income families whose children receive free meals in schools or early learning and childcare settings.

There will be additional £20 million for councils in Scotland to tackle ‘financial insecurity’ – bringing the total to £47 million.

Ms Todd said: ‘This extra funding will help to support people in the immediate term who may be struggling due to the pandemic.’

She said the UK Government was ‘seeking to slash Universal Credit’ and scrap the £20 uplift in payments – introduced during the pandemic – from April.

Ms Todd, for the SNP, said this would mean the value of Universal Credit dropping by as much as a 25 per cent at a time when Department of Work and Pensions figures show there has been a 75 per cent increase in the number of claimants in the Highlands over the last year.

‘The move to cut Universal Credit when it is needed most is indefensible and cruel and will leave a devastating and lasting impact on many of my constituents. The UK Government must act now to make the £20 uplift in Universal Credit payments permanent.’