THE Tories will take back benefits from low-paid health workers if they receive the Scottish Government’s £500 thank-you payment, it has emerged.

Nicola Sturgeon announced NHS and care staff would receive the one-off payment to thank them for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has now emerged that for workers who receive Universal Credit, their benefit amount will be reduced if they accept the Scottish Government cash.

The decision has been described as “cruel” and “Scrooge-like”.

Responding to SNP MP Neil Gray, DWP minister Will Quince confirmed the thank-you cash would be classed as “earnings” – so Universal Credit payments would be “tapered”.

The National:

It comes after the UK Government refused to make the £500 payment tax-free.

The First Minister had urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to let “our health and care heroes keep every penny of Scotland’s thank you to them”.

Reacting to the latest Universal Credit decision, Gray said: "The Tory Government should be ashamed.

“Instead of taking money away from our NHS and care workers, the Tory Government should follow Scotland's lead and ensure workers across the UK get the recognition they deserve."

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A spokesperson for the DWP said: “We recognise the absolutely vital role that all key workers continue to play.

“The rules here apply to all workers bonuses which are treated as earnings and just as under the legacy benefit system, claimants would not have kept all of their bonus.”