THE UK Government has been accused of neutralising the impact of the Scottish Child Payment with plans to reduce benefits payments.

David Linden, SNP MP, has written to the Work and Pensions Secretary over the plans to remove the uplift to Universal Credit (UC) in September.

It comes after the Children's Commissioner for Scotland, Bruce Adamson, told the Westminster Work and Pensions Select Committee last week that the £20 increase to UC was "absolutely essential to families and removing it will be catastrophic for many families unless other support is in place."

He also said that despite the Scottish Government's Scottish Child Payment set to be increased, the reduction in UC would "effectively knock out the benefits that the Scottish Child Payment brings into families."

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In the March budget statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the £20-a-week increase to UC would be kept on until September, with no plans to extend it beyond this point. 

Mr Linden, MP for Glasgow East, has urged Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey to rethink the "savage" cuts to UC, saying the plans would void the child support provided by Holyrood.

The Scottish Child Payment is given to parents of children under the age of six, every four weeks. 

Those eligible for the benefit receive £10 a week for each child they look after, with the SNP committing to doubling this over the course of the next term during the election campaign. 

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In his letter to Ms Coffey, the SNP's work and pensions spokesman said: "If the Scottish Child Payment is to reach its intended aims, it cannot simply become a mitigation measure for savage welfare cuts from Westminster. The Scottish Parliament must not continue to operate with one hand tied behind its back by your government.

"I ask you to reconsider and to listen to the powerful words of the Children’s Commissioner for Scotland and his counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland, who jointly wrote to you to call for the uplift to be maintained and to express their concerns about the ongoing negative impact of the two-child limit – an abhorrent and discriminatory policy which must be scrapped."

He added: "If tackling poverty is a priority for your government, then plans to slash Universal Credit must be dropped. Struggling families must be at the heart of building back better from the pandemic."

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Mr Linden told The Herald: "Just like with the NHS bonus, while the Scottish Government gives with one hand, Westminster takes with the other.

"The Children’s Commissioner for Scotland has made clear that the UK government’s decision to scrap the Universal Credit uplift in September will actively undermine the game-changing Scottish Child Payment - a policy introduced by the SNP Scottish Government specifically to tackle child poverty in Scotland."

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He said Boris Johnson and his ministers were " taking the UK in a very worrying direction and Scotland wants no part in it", citing the recent report that the UK Government's two-child benefit cap breaches human rights as well as the controversial 'rape clause'.

Mr Linden added: "The people of Scotland made clear this month that it wants to take a different approach by overwhelmingly voting again for the SNP - the party that introduced the Scottish Child Payment, extended free school meals, enshrined in Scottish law the Convention on the Rights of the Child and pledged to make Scotland the best place in the world for children to grow up.

“The Scottish Government will continue to do what it can with its limited powers to tackle child poverty and my SNP colleagues and I at Westminster will continue to press the UK government to do the right thing and make tackling poverty a priority, including scrapping the two-child cap and associated rape clause, making the Universal Credit uplift permanent and extending it to legacy benefits and matching the Scottish Child Payment.

"However, while the majority of welfare and employment powers remain reserved to Westminster, Scotland will always be acting with one hand tied behind its back."

HeraldScotland:

A DWP spokesman responded, saying: "This Government is committed to supporting people through the pandemic and beyond, providing a strong financial safety net for those in need and investing billions into additional welfare spending. At the same time our Plan for Jobs is levelling up opportunity across the country, supporting workers of all ages to retrain, build new skills, and get back into work as we push to build back better.

“The Scottish Government has significant welfare powers and can top-up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility."