A north-east MP has warned the UK Government against bringing an end to a Universal Credit top-up amid a huge rise in the number of claimants.
The number of people applying for the benefit in Aberdeen rose by nearly 200% between November 2019 and November 2020.
Earlier this year ministers introduced a £20-per-week “uplift”, a scheme which is due to come to an end soon.
In Parliament, Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn asked work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey whether she had asked Chancellor Rishi Sunak to continue the uplift.
Mr Flynn said: “Those relying on Universal Credit has soared by 189% in my constituency of Aberdeen South with nearly 18,000 people receiving the lifeline payment across our city.
“The pandemic, along with the oil price downturn, has hammered hard-pressed families across the north-east and to think that the Tories want to slash support is abhorrent to say the least.
“So many thousands of people in Aberdeen are set to see their payments cut in the midst of this pandemic so in all honesty I simply cannot believe we are even having this argument.
“My SNP colleagues and I will continue to demand that Universal Credit payments are maintained, but time and time again we are faced with the reality of this Tory government which continually fails to do the right thing by those who have suffered most in this pandemic.
“Quite frankly, if the £20 Universal Credit uplift is not maintained for the near 18,000 people in Aberdeen then the Secretary of State must go.”
In response, Ms Coffey said: “It is important, recognising the scale of support the government has given to families, businesses and so on, that we can continue to make those decisions based on a competent, considerate and passionate way, and that is exactly what the Chancellor and I will be doing in our representations to the Prime Minister.”