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The SNP Westminster leader accused the Prime Minister of failing to answer his question on the future of Universal Credit to tackle poverty in the UK. Mr Blackford called on Mr Johnson’s Government to commit to making the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent.
He said: “With mass unemployment looming, having the right social security measures in place to help families over the long term is vital. The Chancellor has so far refused to commit to make the £20 Universal Credit uplift permanent.
“This means that 16 million people face losing an income equivalent of £1,040 overnight. Will the Prime Minister now commit to making the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent?”
Mr Johnson replied: “I’m proud that we’ve been able to uprate it in the way that we have and we will continue to support people across the country with the biggest cash increase in the national living wage this year, and the result of UC so far has been that there are 200,000 fewer people in absolute poverty now than there were in 2010.”
“One of these days the Prime Minister might even consider to answer the question,” the SNP MP rebutted.
But Boris Johnson promptly shut down the accusation and mocked Mr Blackford in a witty response.
He said: “I don’t want in any way to underestimate the importance of what he is saying.
“It is vital that we tackle poverty in this country.
“That’s why this Government is so proud of what we did with the national living wage.
“What I can tell him on Universal Credit is that we’re putting another £1.7billion into Universal Credit by 2023/2024.
“And if that doesn’t give him the answer that he wants then he can ask again next week.
“We will continue to support people’s families across this country.”
Ahead of his clash with Mr Blackford, Mr Johnson faced Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer who accused the Prime Minister of governing “in hindsight”.
He told the Commons: “If this was an isolated example, I think the British people might understand, but there’s a pattern here.
“On care homes, protective equipment, exams, testing. The Prime Minister ignores the warning signs, hurtles towards a car crash, then looks in the rear mirror, says ‘what’s all that about?’
“It’s quite literally government in hindsight.”
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Sir Keir added: “All the Prime Minister has to say is it is too early to say if restrictions are working but it’s obvious that something’s gone wrong here, so what’s the Prime Minister going to do about it?”
In response, Mr Johnson questioned whether the Labour leader supports the Government’s rule of six restrictive measures after the party abstained in a Commons vote.
He told the Commons: “What we are doing is a combination of national and local measures which one week he (Sir Keir Starmer) comes to this House and supports, and the next week mysteriously he decides to whisk his support away.
“He cannot even be bothered to mobilise his own benches to support something as fundamental as the rule of six, which he himself said only three weeks ago that he supported.
“He cannot continue to have it both ways. Does he support the rule of six? Yes or no?”
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