News

Measures needed to address ‘no deal’ Brexit poverty risks

Published: 02 Oct 2019 13:42

Communities Secretary calls for urgent UK Government action.

Immediate UK Government action is needed to mitigate the highly damaging impact of a possible ‘no deal’ Brexit on those on low incomes, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell has warned in a letter to the Secretary of State of Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey.

If the UK Government pursues a ‘no deal’ Brexit 130,000 people in Scotland could be pushed into poverty.

The immediate actions the Scottish Government is calling for from the UK Government are:

  • the launch of a fully resourced UK-wide benefit awareness campaign to maximise take-up of available benefits
  • the implementation of a range of changes to Universal Credit to safeguard incomes, including reducing the minimum wait for payment, maximising advance payments, reversing the two-child cap and lifting conditionality
  • the immediate removal of the Benefit Cap, which affects a total of 3,320 Scottish households, 92% of which contain children
  • the lifting of the benefits freeze on working age benefits, which is reducing spending in Scotland by up to £300 million per year, and uprate benefits in line with inflation

Ms Campbell said:

“A ‘no deal’ Brexit is a disastrous option that the Scottish Parliament has made clear should not be considered.

“Tens of thousands of people in Scotland are at risk of being pushed into poverty. If the UK Government sanctions this highly damaging course of action, it must deal with the consequences.

“Action from the UK Government is needed now to deal with the magnitude of crisis a ‘no deal’ Brexit would cause. That is why I have made clear that the Department of Work and Pensions must try to mitigate the worst effects of their actions on those on low incomes and in poverty.”

Background

The Scottish Government announced £1 million in September 2019 for organisations helping people struggling with food insecurity as a result of the additional pressures of Brexit.