MHAIRI Black is absolutely correct in saying that the £20 uplift to Universal Credit (UC) around the start of the pandemic is “the greatest proof” that the UK Government knew they had left many worse off as a result of the rollout of the benefit (Scots Tories show their true colours in benefit uplift vote, January 23). Indeed, I had a letter in The National in spring of last year making the point that the £20 increase was an admission, if ever there was one, that the existing level of UC was not enough to live on.

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It’s worth adding that Tory-led governments have also left many millions of people throughout the UK worse off as a result of the £37-£39 billion they’ve cut from social security overall the past ten years, including via the benefit cap, the two-child cap aka the rape clause, the under-occupation penalty aka the bedroom tax, cuts to disability benefits, benefit sanctions, and in particular the four-year benefit freeze from 2016-20 which amounted to a cut of around £16bn and was one of the most harmful measures according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation et al.

As well as calling for the UC uplift to continue beyond the end of March, it’s therefore vital that we don’t forget about the millions of people still receiving the “legacy benefits” UC is to replace, who haven’t received the £20 uplift. This includes people on income-related Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (the main incapacity benefit) and Income Support.

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Following the introduction of the UC uplift last spring, the Disability Benefits Consortium, a network of 100 organisations, called for it to be extended to the legacy benefits, to no avail. They and others, including MPS, have since continued to demand that the DWP give the £20 increase to those on legacy benefits, but Therese Coffey, the Secretary for Work and Pensions, has dug her heels in and refused. This leaves millions of people, including disabled people, without the increase. This is nothing short of discrimination, and is especially appalling during a pandemic. At the very least we should continue to shine a light on it.

Mo Maclean