Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil this week backed a Parliamentary Motion to cancel the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit – a change that will directly affect more than 1500 island residents.

In an Opposition Day debate in the Houses of Parliament, Mr MacNeil voted along with his SNP colleagues and other parties, while Conservative members abstained.

The results of the vote are non-binding and so the UK Government will now proceed to end the £20 a week uplift which has been a lifeline to 400 families with over 700 children in the Western Isles during the pandemic.

Mr MacNeil has written to the Chancellor the Exchequer Rishi Sunak urging a rethink and is due to meet with Western Isles Citizens Advice Service (WICAS) later this month to discuss this situation further.

He stated: “It is disappointing that although the motion to prevent the end of the Universal Credit uplift was backed, it will not prevent the UK Government from going ahead with the cut.

“Ending the uplift will effectively mean a pay cut for low paid workers and some of the poorest families and vulnerable children are about to have household income slashed.

“I will continue to press the UK Government to rethink and make the uplift permanent to prevent more families being plunged into poverty.”