A young man has just £2.52 a day to live on after he struggles with low benefit payments, debt and rocketing energy bills a charity has said.

Christians Against Poverty told a meeting at the SNP conference about Kyle, (not his real name) a 19-year-old man, from near Kirkintilloch, outside Glasgow.

Emma Jackson, of the charity, told the meeting which included Shirley-Ann Somerville, the Scottish Government social justice secretary, how he was struggling to feed himself on less than £18 a week.

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Ms Jackson said Kyle has mental health difficulties and cannot work at the moment.

She said: “Universal credit is his only income and he is paid at the lower rate as he is under 25.

 “It is woefully inadequate and he has deductions because of an advance and arrears.”

His income and outgoings were laid out.

She said: “His council tax and energy bills have mounted. Kyle struggles every day and has £250 a month left to pay for everything.

“His gas and electricity bill is £172 a month.

“He is left with 17.67 a week to pay for everything else, £2.52 per day to pay for all his needs after gas and electric.”

She added his problem is made worse because not only is his income not enough to start with, he has deductions for debt.

She added: “Problem debt is an all-consuming problem.”

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Ruth Boyle of Poverty Alliance, said:  “Social security needs to be seen as an investment rather than a cost.”

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Social Justice Secretary, said too much money in Scotland was being spent on mitigation of UK Government policies like benefit cap.

She said: “Minimum Income Guarantee is something the Scottish Government is committed to.”

She added however

She listed a host of initiatives where she said the Scottish Government has invested money to improve incomes.

She added: “We need to challenge ourselves as a government to go further.”

Universal credit is at an appalling rate at the best of times and then people are sanctioned.

“We have written to the UK Government about an essentials guarantee, a safety net that provides the essentials without being sanctioned.”