Claims have been made that over a tenth of working age families in the Northern Isles will be impacted by a planned £20 cut to universal credit and working tax credit.
Figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation are said to show the biggest overnight reduction to the basic rate of social security since the foundation of the modern welfare system.
Across the country the move, planned for 6th October, is expected to impact on around have and a half million families.
In Orkney and Shetland, 2,250 – 12 per cent – of working age families will be impacted, the figures claim, and 1,200 – 26 per cent – of working age families with children.
The £20 uplift was only intended by the government to be a temporary measure during the height of the pandemic, but pressure is now growing on the Tories to make it permanent ahead of the October deadline.
Isles MP Alistair Carmichael said: “This is further evidence of the harm we risk by cutting universal credit as we are still attempting to recover from the pandemic.
“We are in some ways fortunate in the isles to have a lower rate of people making use of universal credit than elsewhere, but that still represents thousands of families.
“The rate has been rising and many people will be feeling vulnerable during the current economic climate. This is no time to be cutting support.
“People need greater certainty after a chaotic year – to cut Universal Credit now is to cut people’s confidence in a more stable future after the pandemic.”