Nicola Sturgeon urges Douglas Ross to get 'off his phone'
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Nicola Sturgeon was snubbed by Douglas Ross during her speech about Universal Credit cut when she noticed him looking at his phone. An evidently angry First Minister urged the leader of the Scottish Conservatives to “get off his phone” to discuss the impact his party’s policy will have on Scots’ finances. The £20 a week uplift brought in during the coronavirus pandemic will no longer apply from Friday.
Ms Sturgeon said: “As part of the cut and thrust of democracy and political debate, I disagree, and oppose many of the UK government’s policies.
“As you know the conservatives will oppose many of the policies of this government.
“But I don’t think there has been anything quite so morally indefensible as this cut to Universal Credit that is planned to take effect in a week.
“Taken at this time in particular-20 pounds a week away from the most vulnerable, lowest-income households across the country.”
She continued: “It simply cannot be defended in any way shape or form.
“And I do see it to the Conservatives here if Douglas Ross wants to get off his phone for a moment where we’re talking about this really serious issue.
“I would say to the Conservatives in this Chamber – please, over the next few days, try to persuade your UK government colleagues not to do this.
“Because it is your constituents, just as mine, and the constituents of every member in this chamber who are going to find it difficult to feed their children, to pay their energy bills, and to live with dignity if this cut goes ahead.”
She added: “For goodness sake, let’s all unite to say to this UK Government.
“Do not do this.”
The Department for Work and Pensions said the Government had “always been clear that the uplift to Universal Credit was temporary”.
A spokesman said: “It was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.”
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has previously said many households could face a “very difficult winter” with fuel prices surging and the £20 uplift ending.
Boris Johnson has been warned that more than 800,000 people risk being plunged into poverty as a result of an imminent cut to universal credit.
The Government increased Universal Credit by £20 per week during the pandemic, to help families struggling in the wake of the economic fallout, but the uplift will be cut by October.
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