30 March 2019

More than 150,000 single mothers in Scotland will be hit by the Tories' decision to continue the benefit freeze, analysis released this Mother's Day shows.

New analysis by the House of Commons library, commissioned by Labour, has revealed that an estimated 152,700 single mothers in Scotland are affected by the Tories' benefit freeze.

Due to the freeze, a lone parent who is not in employment is around £900 a year worse off.

Labour is calling on the government to end the benefit freeze immediately, which is the “single biggest cause of rising poverty” in the UK and for the SNP government to use Scotland's powers to end the two-child cap.

In 2016, the Conservatives froze most working age benefits for four years, including Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and Child Benefit.

According to the House of Commons library analysis, the benefit freeze means that:

• A lone parent who is not in employment with one child is around £900 a year worse off and a parent with two children is just over £1,200 a year worse off, whether in the legacy system or the Universal Credit system;

• A lone parent in employment with one child is £810 worse off in the legacy system and £895 worse off in the UC system;

• A lone parent with two children who is in employment is nearly £1,000 worse off in the legacy system and £1,200 worse off in the UC system.

New figures published on Thursday by the Scottish Government revealed that 1 million people are in poverty, with almost a quarter of them children.

Scottish Labour's social security spokesperson, Mark Griffin MSP, said:

“The benefit freeze is the single biggest cause of rising poverty, yet the Tories are continuing to press on with this austerity policy for the fourth year.

“Mother’s Day should be a time of celebration for mums in Scotland, but today many will instead be struggling to make ends meet.

“In government, Labour will end the benefit freeze and the two-child cap to make tackling child poverty the priority it should be once again.”

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