South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has blasted Scottish Conservative MPs for not showing up at Westminster to vote on a motion to cancel the scrapping of the £20 Universal Credit uplift.

The Labour politician said: “I know local Tory MPs aren’t interested in constituents who are on universal credit judging by their failure to reply to my letter on the issue and worse, even turn up to their work to vote on the matter in Parliament. “It is shameful that they are ignoring charities who say this cut in universal credit will remove a lifeline to thousands of their constituents, economists who say it will suck spending from our local high streets and even their government’s own internal analysis that makes clear it will increase homelessness, poverty and food bank usage in our area.

“When that happens, people will remember that the buck for this rests with local Conservative MPs. They not only failed to stand up for their constituents, they couldn’t even be bothered to turn up for them.”

The Labour move was passed by the House of Commons on Wednesday, September 15 by 253 votes to zero votes against.

Conservative MPs were instructed not to take part in the vote as the Government said they planned to ignore the result.

The UK Government recently announced that the pandemic universal credit uplift of £20 a week will be withdrawn on October 1 despite widespread public and cross-party opposition to the move, leading to cuts of up to £1,000 a year for tens of thousands families across South Scotland.

David Mundell, MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale responded: “The £20 uplift in Universal Credit was never intended as a permanent measure and that was made clear from the start.

“With nearly all restrictions now having been lifted, it is right that we again look at the support that was put in place to help people through the pandemic and whether they continue to be necessary.”

Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack said: “Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic.

“The temporary uplift to Universal Credit was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so.

“The temporary uplift is part of a £400 billion support package which continues beyond the ending of restrictions.

“Our focus now is on our multi-billion pound Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them increase their earnings by boosting their skills, getting into work, progressing in work or increasing their hours.

“In addition, the Scottish Parliament has significant welfare powers and can top-up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility.”