Benefit cap hits hundreds of Midlothian families

Colin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh
Colin Beattie MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh

Hundreds of families in Midlothian have seen their incomes cut by the UK Government’s benefit cap, new figures have revealed.

And 148 of 268 of the households affected were single parent families.

SNP MSP for Midlothian North, Colin Beattie, claims “heartless” Tory austerity is driving up child poverty and dependence on foodbanks. The figures from the DWP show that 26 households in Midlothian have lost out on over £100 per week after being hit by the UK Government’s benefit cap. Across Scotland 11,256 households have had their support stripped since the cap was introduced.

SNP MSP Colin Beattie said: “Tory austerity is having a devastating impact on thousands of low-income families across Scotland. The UK government should be deeply ashamed of stripping the income of families across Midlothian and driving up child poverty.

“Midlothian has been hit hard by the benefit cap, as well as a host of other Tory welfare cuts – including the freeze on working-age benefits, unfair sanctions and the roll-out of Universal Credit.

“It is a disgrace that 26 households have lost out on over £100 per week, with single parent families in Midlothian being worst hit.

“I see the impact of Tory benefit cuts on a daily basis in my constituency. Our welfare system is meant to be a safety net to help those most in need - instead the Tories punish the poorest in society, taking money from families who are already struggling to get by.

“With our limited powers in Scotland, the SNP in government are determined to build a social security system built on dignity and respect. It’s time the Scottish Parliament is handed the powers needed to create a fairer Scotland that’s ready to tackle the causes of inequality.”

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, said: “Our welfare reforms are supporting more and more people into work – in fact since 2010 we have seen an average of 1,000 more people moving into employment each and every day.

“Under the old system, over one million people spent most of a decade trapped on benefits. In stark comparison we now have seen record levels of employment.

“And the benefit cap ensures we have a fairer system – fair for the taxpayer and fair for claimants.

“So it’s not surprising that we now have the lowest unemployment figures since 1975.

“And with the latest budget announcements for Universal Credit, we will help even more families as we increase the amount people can earn by £1,000 before their benefit payment begins to be reduced – making sure it pays to work and it’s a smooth transition into work.”