No doubt Rishi Sunak will make much of the Treasury’s handling of the pandemic when he arrives in Scotland today.

One in three jobs have been supported through the Covid crisis, over 900,000 people in Scotland were furloughed and more than 90,000 businesses were supported with loans.

Sunak is now in danger of losing all that goodwill by slashing Universal Credit for the poorest people in the country.

It would tarnish his own reputation if he goes ahead with the cut – the biggest cut to a benefit since the welfare state started in the 1940s.

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And what’s more it would demonstrate once and for all that the Tory party is still the “Nasty Party” – despite Boris Johnson’s commitment to “levelling up”.

To go ahead with a cut of £20 a week to Universal Credit would immediately push 420,000 more children, 22,000 of them in Scotland, below the poverty line.

They would join 4.3million children already in poverty, a figure that has increased by one million in the last decade of Tory rule. Almost 40 per cent of their parents will be working but sinking financially if this cut goes ahead.

Keeping the £20 UC uplift would cost the relatively modest sum of £6billion.

But that would not even begin to touch the sides of the £37billion in benefit cuts, caps and freezes that a previous chancellor, George Osborne, imposed on poor families.

There can be no way the Conservative government can congratulate itself with glib slogans about “levelling up” or “building back better” if our economic recovery is built on the backs of the poor.

It really is time for Rishi Sunak to think again.

Life-saving story

When Alasdair Kilgour told the story of his struggle with Covid he had no idea the impact it would have.

The young single dad thought he would die when he was rushed into hospital on his 33rd birthday this year and he feared he would never see his son Cole again. He pulled through, but he is still suffering from the life-changing effects of Long Covid.

Alasdair found it hard to talk about his experiences but by doing so he has already made a difference.

He knows of at least one vaccine refuser who changed her mind after reading his story and who knows how many others have had their eyes opened by his words.

Many young people have still not chosen to have a vaccine, perhaps thinking the effect of Covid would not be serious. But the virus can kill young people and the effects of Long Covid can be devastating.

Well done to Alasdair for telling his story to help educate our young people. His courage will save lives.