THE Tory Government must make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent and extend it to all legacy benefits, the SNP have said.

Following on from several UK Government U-turns, the party’s shadow work and pensions secretary Neil Gray urged the Chancellor not to slash the increase in April as planned.

Gray, who will soon be stepping down as an MP following his selection as an SNP Holyrood 2021 candidate, said it is “crucial” that Rishi Sunak makes the £20 boost permanent “so that people are not left struggling to get by”.

It comes after think tank IPPR Scotland urged the UK Government to make the uplift permanent and recommended it remove the benefit cap and two-child limit, calling the policies “the most pernicious parts of the UK-wide benefit system”.

More than 50 anti-poverty charities and campaigners, the Work and Pensions select committee and former Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb have all backed the move.

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Gray (above) said: "The UK is in the grip of a growing Tory unemployment crisis. It is crucial that the Chancellor's next U-turn is to boost household incomes by making the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent and extending it to legacy benefits - so that people are not left struggling to get by.

"It is shameful that the Tory Government has refused to make this commitment and is planning to slash Universal Credit payments - punishing already hard-hit households. The SNP has been calling on Rishi Sunak to heed the warnings and make a U-turn for months. His silence in response is deafening.”

He added that Scotland “shouldn’t have to wait for Westminster to act”.

READ MORE: SNP MP Neil Gray must quit Westminster after winning Holyrood selection contest

“By withholding investment and blocking the devolution of powers, the Tory Government has hindered Scotland's ability to respond to this crisis. It is clearer than ever, that the only way to properly protect Scotland's interests is to become an independent country,” he said.

The call comes after Sunak U-turned on a furlough extension following months of pressure to do so.

The extension means furlough will last for a further five months and see employees stop doing their jobs while the Government pays 80% of their wages.