NICOLA Sturgeon hit back at Scottish Tory MSPs for not opposing a cut to UniversalCredit payments after they interrupted a heartfelt response at FMQs.

The First Minister was responding to a question from Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy who described the UK Government cutting the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit as "abhorrent".

Saying that she hopes MPs will do all they can to retain the uplift, Glasgow MSP Duncan-Glancy said: "The removal of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit will mean some families in Scotland will no longer be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment. Will the Scottish Government use the powers it has here and ensure that those families who would have been eligible for the Child Payment continue to get it?"

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Responding, Sturgeon said: "We'll do everything we can through our powers and our resources to make sure that we lift children out of poverty and don't allow them to be pushed into poverty and I absolutely respect and sympathise with the sentiment behind that question.

"There is a really hard issue for us here in this parliament. Every time the Conservatives at Westminster make a cut to social security and save the money from that cut, they don't then transfer that money to the Scottish Parliament. So every time we have to mitigate a cut like that, we're having to take money from elsewhere within the budget. It is an unsustainable way to proceed. 

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She added: "I'm not that hopeful I'll get Conservative agreement to this point, I am more hopeful that I will get the agreement of people like Pam Duncan-Glancy as I recognise the sincerity here.

"We need to bring all of these powers within the Scottish Parliament so that we can do these things sensibly."

The First Minister was then interrupted by calls from the Tory benches.

She replied to these calls, saying: "Conservatives who cannot bring themselves to oppose their own Chancellor taking £20 a week away from the poorest children in our society have no room to lecture me about using powers in this parliament."

Looking back to the Labour benches, Sturgeon added: "Lets those of us who genuinely care about lifting children out of poverty come together in opposition to this callous, uncaring Tory government."

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The £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit was introduced in April 2020 as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. It is due to be cut on October 1 of this year.

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

The Scottish Child Payment has so far helped more than 108,000 children across Scotland since it was introduced in February.

The payment provides £10 a week for eligible families with children under 6. It is due to be expanded to children between 6-15 by the end of 2022.

The Scottish Government has also committed to doubling the payment within the current session of parliament in the recent co-operation agreement with the Scottish Greens.