Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has welcomed the u-turn from the UK Government to end the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) ‘telephone tax’ on premium phone line charges.
Following months of campaigning from the SNP group at Westminster, the Tory Welfare Minister, David Gauke, has given into pressure to change the system which meant that people phoning a helpline to get information on Universal Credit were having to pay up to 55p a minute to get information.
Mr Newlands is calling on the Tory UK Government to go further and abandon their full roll-out of Universal Credit.
Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:
“After a year-long campaign from the SNP MPs at Westminster, in particular through the leading efforts of my SNP colleague, Chris Stephens MP, the Tories have finally realised that their ‘telephone tax’ is completely indefensible. This tax has pushed our most vulnerable citizens into debt, in the process also making it harder for them to contact the DWP to claim the help that they are entitled to.
“This is to be welcomed but its only tinkering around the edges. Universal Credit is nothing short of a disaster which is causing real heartache for people – and will cause real pain for people in Renfrewshire when it’s rolled out early next year.
“The SNP has repeatedly argued that the six-week delay in receiving the first universal credit payment is entirely unreasonable and is leaving families unable to make ends meet. Tory welfare cuts are having a devastating impact on low-income and disabled people across Scotland – and the botched roll-out of universal credit is just the latest disaster to hit households."