Boris Johnson has been urged to help millions of people across the UK who have been "excluded" from vital support throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the current support “simply isn’t good enough” as he highlighted claims people have taken their own lives.
At Prime Minister’s Questions he told the Commons: “There are millions who still haven’t had a single penny of support from this UK Government. Yesterday I met with Excluded UK who represent many of these three million citizens.
"For the last nine months, the excluded have been living without any help, without any hope and it is now tragically costing lives. They told me something genuinely shocking. They are aware of eight people who have taken their own lives in the last 10 days. Eight people in ten days."
Blackford added: "We are now a little over three weeks from Christmas. These people need help. Will the Prime Minister commit to looking again at the support package for the excluded to ensure no-one, but no-one, is left behind?”
There are around three million newly self-employed or freelancer who are currently ineligible for the bailout schemes offered by the government.
Johnson responded that he was sympathetic to people during “a very tough time for the country” and that the government had invested massively in mental health support.
The Prime Minister said: “We’ve put in a huge package of support and he knows this, but I must repeat this for self-employed people across the country, and I know there are hard-to-reach people, but they are also supported with the increases in Universal Credit and the many other means of support that are currently on offer.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer asked for assurances on the distribution of the covid vaccine. Other MPs were unforgiving on the Prime Minister on what should have been a good outing .
During a rough passage in Prime Minister’s Questions the SNP’s Drew Hendry MP pressed Johnson on whether the £20 weekly increase in Universal Credit will be extended beyond next April.
The Inverness MP said the government will be “throwing millions to the wolves” if the covid top-up was not maintained.
Labour’s Emma Lewell-Buck asked what the Prime Minister’s greatest achievement has been in his first year in office.
She said: “I want to congratulate the Prime Minister as I think next week marks his first year in post.
“However, in that time over 71,000 Covid deaths – the highest rate in Europe, over £2 trillion in debt – the worst worst-performing economy in the G7, failing Brexit negotiations and at least £1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money spent on contracts to Tory friends and donors – whilst at the same time whipping his MPs to vote against meals for hungry children.
“Which one of these achievements is he most proud of?”
Johnson replied: “I’d take her more seriously if her party leader would vote for measures that would open up the economy whilst protecting lives across the UK.”