THE SNP’s Westminster Leader Ian Blackford will join MP David Linden for a day of action today to stop Tory cuts to Universal Credit that will plunge families across Scotland into poverty, including those in work.

They will visit a foodbank in Glasgow to help load, unload and make up food parcels, as well as hear Trussell Trust Scotland’s concerns about the upcoming Universal Credit cut, which is set to come in at the same time as furlough ends and energy prices rise.

The planned cuts will see the incomes of six million people – more than 400,000 in Scotland – slashed by £1040 overnight.

The Trussell Trust’s 2021 State of Hunger report revealed that last year, over two fifths of households referred to a food bank were in receipt of Universal Credit, and according to Child Poverty Action Group, 72% of children in families struggling to afford food have at least one parent who works.

Linden, who is the Glasgow East MP, has more than 10,000 people in his constituency on Universal Credit – 3887 of whom are in employment – launched a campaign at the beginning of this month urging people to “reject Rishi’s Universal Credit crunch”.

He is calling on the Chancellor to U-turn on the cuts that will put half a million more people below the poverty line.

READ MORE: Huge Universal Credit cuts will hit families across Scotland, report finds

He said: “The Tories’ planned cuts to Universal Credit will not only plunge half a million people into poverty – 200,000 of which are children – but it will betray the 180,000 odd people in Scotland in employment who rely on the payment to get by.

“In-work poverty has been rising under the Tory government’s watch and is one of the main drivers behind food insecurity. Boris Johnson’s rhetoric that ‘work pays’ is ringing hollow.

“It is a damning indictment of this Tory government that many families still cannot make ends meet even when they have a job. Rishi Sunak must u-turn on the cuts and instead make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits. Beyond that, he must bring in a Real Living Wage to ensure that work really does pay.”

Blackford said: “It is time Tory ministers heeded the many warnings about the impact the Universal Credit crunch will have – including the fact that the planned cut risks wiping out the positive impact the Scottish Child Payment has on families.

“If the Chancellor goes ahead with these further brutal austerity cuts, it will be another example of the SNP government putting money in people’s pockets just for the Tories to take it away again.

“Neither the Tories nor Labour can be trusted to stand up for families in Scotland. Just this week Labour – the architects of austerity – failed to commit to reversing Universal Credit cuts if in power and we are still reeling from a decade of Tory austerity cuts. And we must not forget that both parties backed a hard Brexit. Independence is the only way we can truly secure a strong and equal recovery for Scotland.”

The £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit was introduced in April last year as a response to the pandemic. Boris Johnson is under pressure to reverse the planned cut but has given no indication he will do so.

Johnson used an interview with BBC Scotland to signal the government package of Covid support would soon be ending. Asked if he was determined to end the £20 per week uplift, the PM said: “What we want to do is move away from all the Covid interventions, all the massive £407 billion-worth of support we’ve given to jobs, to families, to livelihoods across the UK.

“Getting people into work is the best route out of poverty. And one of the things we have done, across the whole of the UK, is to increase the Living Wage, of which I’m very proud, to £8.91 per hour. What we’re also doing is using the massive firepower of the Treasury to help people into work - ReStart for the long-term unemployment, and other schemes. My view is it’s much better to move people off welfare and into work.”