Local MSP Colin Smyth has criticised south Scotland Conservative MPs Alister Jack, John Lamont and David Mundell for failing to turn up to Parliament to vote on a Labour motion calling on the UK Government to cancel their planned £20-per-week cut to Universal Credit due to take effect next month.
The Labour move was passed by the House of Commons today (15 September) by 253 votes to zero votes against. Conservative MPs were instructed not to take part in the vote as the Government said they planned to ignore the result.
The UK Government recently announced that the pandemic universal credit uplift of £20 a week will be withdrawn on 1 October despite widespread public and cross-party opposition to the move, leading to cuts of up to £1,000 a year for tens of thousands families across South Scotland.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has estimated that the move will send half a million people, including 200,000 children, into poverty.
A recently leaked government memo admitted that “homelessness and poverty are likely to rise, and food banks usage will soar”.
Last month Colin Smyth wrote to South Scotland Conservative MPs Alister Jack, John Lamont and David Mundell calling on them to oppose a cut that will hammer thousands of families in their constituencies- but so far has yet to receive a reply.
Commenting on the local Tory no-show Colin Smyth said, “I know local Tory MPs aren’t interested in constituents who are on universal credit judging by their failure to reply to my letter on the issue and worse, even turn up to their work to vote on the matter in Parliament.
“It is shameful that they are ignoring charities who say this cut in universal credit will remove a lifeline to thousands of their constituents, economists who say it will suck spending from our local high streets and even their government’s own internal analysis that makes clear it will increase homelessness, poverty and food bank usage in our area.
“When that happens, people will remember that the buck for this rests with local Conservative MPs. They not only failed to stand up for their constituents, they couldn’t even be bothered to turn up for them”.