Edinburgh benefits cut: Which parts of Edinburgh and the Lothians will lose out the most?

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Up to 25 per cent of families in some parts of Lothian stand to lose out if the UK Government opts not to increase benefits in line with inflation, the latest official data shows.

New analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights which parliamentary constituencies have the highest numbers of people on means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit. If the government decides to uprate these benefits only in line with earnings, as has been suggested, the charity says these families and individuals would suffer the biggest real-terms permanent cut ever made in a single year.

Although three Glasgow constituencies had the most people in Scotland – almost four out of ten – who would be affected, Livingston had 25 per cent of people – one in four – set to lose out if the government rejects an inflation rise. In Linlithgow & East Falkirk it was 24 per cent; in Midlothian 23 per cent; and in East Lothian 21 per cent.

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Edinburgh constituencies had slightly lower proportions, but still thousands of people who would be hit by a below-inflation benefits rise. Edinburgh East has 19 per cent of people on means-tested benefits; Edinburgh South West 18 per cent; Edinburgh West 16 per cent; Edinburgh North & Leith 15 per cent; and Edinburgh South 14 per cent.

Across the UK, the analysis found that more than two-thirds of MPs represent areas where at least one fifth of working-age families receive means-tested benefits. Five constituencies – in Bradford, Birmingham and Belfast – have at least half of all working-age families who would be affected; and every constituency in the country has at least one in ten working-age families who would be hit.

Katie Schmuecker, JRF principal policy adviser, said: “Politicians should think long and hard about the impact of withholding hundreds of pounds from thousands of families in their constituencies when the basic rate of benefits is already at its lowest in real terms for 40 years and prices are sky-high.“We know millions of families have already gone without the essentials this year, missing meals, not cooking hot food or having hot showers. We know people have gone into arrears on their bills or taking on debt to pay for the basics. It is unconscionable that the government should be considering cutting their ability to pay for what they need. The Government must realise how catastrophic it would be to refuse to respect their own party’s pledge to make sure the value of benefits keeps up with prices.

“The majority of people agree the right thing to do is help the most vulnerable during this extraordinary crisis. The impact will be felt across every constituency in the UK. Now is the time for all MPs to stand up and be counted.”