“Glasgow Rainbow” by bicameral is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Unemployment almost doubled in the Maryhill & Springburn Holyrood constituency over the course of the pandemic, prompting fears for an even worse impact from the loss of the Universal Credit uplift.
The research report, released earlier this month, shows that the rate of unemployment rose to 17.4% in the period of July 2020 to June 2021.
This figure is almost twice the rate of unemployment for the calendar year of 2020, which was 8.8%. The graph below also shows that the current rate is more than 3 times greater than that of pre-pandemic levels.
While the unemployment rate has risen in several constituencies, Maryhill & Springburn has been the most severely affected. It has the highest unemployment rate measured in the report, with a significant gap between it and the second most, East Kilbride’s 10.8%.
The MSP for Maryhill & Springburn, Bob Dorris, warned that the report produced by the Office for National Statistics should be treated with ‘significant caution’ and said of the figures:
“They appear to be based on a sample survey and are dramatically different from the actual claimant count published for UK constituencies which predominantly make up Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn. The constituency of Glasgow North is 4.7% for September 2021 and Glasgow North East is 7.8%”
He went on to comment on this month’s cut to Universal Credit and how it would affect his constituents:
“I have no doubt the UK Government’s £20 per week cut from Universal Credit will be a financial hammer blow for many low income households who rely on benefits. This will clearly disproportionately impact on communities within Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn.”
A local food bank organiser in Maryhill said that the number of clients they were helping had doubled since the Universal Credit cut. They went on to say that the severity of the situation would become clearer once those receiving their payments monthly, rather than fortnightly, felt the full effect:
“At the moment, the number of clients we’ve been getting has doubled…
It’s difficult because it has only been in the last week or so that we’ve seen the change occurring so it’ll be another couple of weeks when it’s hitting, the next calendar month, then you’ll start to see a change again, increasing again.”
An earlier report from the Rowntree Foundation found that the overlapping Glasgow North East constituency will be one of the worst affected by the cut to Universal Credit. The report stated that 54% of families in the area will be affected by the cuts to welfare payments.
The Foundation’s Deputy Director for Scotland, Chris Birt, said:
“In the face of widespread opposition, the UK Government plans to impose the biggest overnight cut to the basic rate of social security since the Second World War. Cutting Universal Credit will have deep and devastating consequences for a huge number of families with children across Scotland”
A spokesperson for the UK Government said:
“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.”