The SNP have blasted the Tories as “completely out-of-touch with reality” for expecting people to wait until the March budget – the month when many support schemes come to an end – to learn of further Covid-19 support measures.

The SNP’s Shadow Chancellor, Alison Thewliss MP, has criticised Rishi Sunak for refusing to provide clarity on a series of demands – including maintaining the Universal Credit uplift and extending it to legacy benefits – which will leave people in the dark regarding their incomes until the very last minute.

The Chancellor has said it is “reasonable” to consider the suggestions “in the round at the Budget”, which is scheduled for March 3.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“These eleventh-hour announcements from the Tory government and continual cliff-edges have got to stop – people must have clarity and certainty over their finances if they are to make ends meet.

“It shows how completely out-of-touch with reality the Tories are that they think it is acceptable for people to wait until the Budget to find out what their incomes will be in that same month. It seems they don’t care about the consequences their last-minute announcements are having on real people’s lives.

“The Chancellor must commit to maintaining and extending the Universal Credit uplift and extending furlough for as long as necessary  – and he must do that now to help ease anxiety for people who are wondering how they are going to get by in the months to come.

“He must also bring in financial support for the 3 million excluded and allow those self-employed who have been deemed ineligible for coronavirus support schemes on the basis of their previous tax returns to apply using their 2019/20 submissions.

“As people face reduced incomes and redundancies on an almost daily basis, it is disgraceful that the UK government are dithering over whether to extend vital support. Scotland shouldn’t have to wait for Westminster to act. It becomes clearer every day that only with the full powers of independence will we be able to properly protect people’s livelihoods and secure a strong recovery for Scotland.”

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