THE SNP have called for a “referendum for recovery” after two-thirds of Scots backed keeping the £20 Universal Credit uplift.

A YouGov poll showed 35% of people in Scotland supported the £20 uplift being maintained until the country’s financial position was “more stable”. Meanwhile, 28% of people asked wanted the uplift to be made permanent.

Universal Credit was increased by £1040 per year at the start of the pandemic, but the UK Government plans to cut the payment in September.

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Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), who commissioned the poll, say that figures show that this will affect over half a million people in Scotland who are currently receiving the benefit.

A total of 1007 adults were surveyed online between May 20 and 25, with the figures weighted and representative of all Scottish adults.

In the UK wide results, approaching two thirds of Conservative voters (63%) were in favour of ending the £20 top-up.

The SNP have said the results show that Scotland is “living a tale of two governments” and that Scotland’s future should not be left in the hands of the Tories.

The National:

Cutting the Universal Credit uplift will affect thousands of Scots

SNP MSP Neil Gray, convener of the social security committee, said: “The majority of people in Scotland want the Universal Credit uplift to be maintained, showing how utterly out of step the Tories are.

“It is concerning that in the face of this evidence and previous findings that cutting Universal Credit would plunge 20,000 children in Scotland into poverty that the Tories are still going ahead with it.

“During the pandemic, the uplift has been a vital lifeline for families across Scotland. Cutting it in October would be devastating and this polling shows that the majority of people in Scotland recognise that and want what is best for everyone that lives here– why can’t the Tories?

“This demonstrates how Scotland is living a tale of two governments, the one in Edinburgh that is building a social security system built on fairness, dignity and respect.

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“Whereas the one in London is prepared to plunge thousands of families into poverty despite the majority of people in Scotland seeing the real benefit of keeping the uplift in place.

“We cannot trust the Tories to protect the future of the people of Scotland and that is why we cannot put Scotland’s recovery into the hands of the Tories. Scotland must have a choice over its future in a referendum for recovery.”

Nina Ballantyne, CAS social justice spokeswoman, said: "Increasing Universal Credit by £20 per week at the start of the pandemic was an absolute lifeline for people and a recognition that payments were too low.

"Cutting it would push hundreds of thousands of people into crisis.

The National:

The extra £20 benefit has been a lifeline for some families

"A clear majority of people support keeping the increase until at least we have recovered from the pandemic - and with furlough winding down in the autumn and a real risk of job losses, that recovery will not be overnight.

"There's still time to cancel this cut and ensure people get the support they need."

The SNP launched a campaign at the beginning of the month to keep the £20 uplift in place, or face plunging thousands of people into poverty.

The Scottish Government has estimated the cut will push more than 60,000 people in Scotland into poverty, including 20,000 children.

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A UK Government spokesperson said: "The temporary Universal Credit uplift was brought in to support those with the lowest incomes during the pandemic.

"Our focus now is on our multibillion-pound Plan For Jobs, which will help people learn new skills to progress in their career, increase their hours or find new work.

"Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has significant welfare powers and can top up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility."