THE Tory Cabinet reshuffle is being cynically used by Boris Johnson’s government to distract from a key debate on the imminent cuts to Universal Credit, SNP MPs have suggested.

The Cabinet reshuffle, which is dominating the media cycle, comes as an opposition day debate in the House of Commons calls on the Tories to U-turn on plans to take more than £1000 per year from the pockets of working families.

Of the six million people on Universal Credit (UC), around 40% are in work. The cut to the “temporary uplift” in UC payments will see claimants lose £20 per week, or £1040 per year, from October 6.

According to analysis from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, this will directly impact on around 450,000 families in Scotland.

One Whitehall official told the Financial Times that the government’s internal modelling showed the ending of the UC uplift would be “catastrophic”.

“Homelessness and poverty are likely to rise, and food bank usage will soar. It could be the real disaster of the autumn,” they told the paper.

Despite this, and consistent calls from the SNP and other opposition parties to keep the £20 uplift in place, Johnson’s Tories are intent on the cuts.

With an opposition day debate on the UC cuts looming, Johnson began a Cabinet reshuffle.

SNP MPs on social media warned of the public’s eye being taken from the key debate.

Anum Qaisar-Javed, the MP for Airdrie and Shotts, wrote: "Later today there’s a debate on planned cuts to Universal Credit. This afternoon there’s now also a Cabinet reshuffle.

“Anyone would think one was meant to drown out the other.”

Her post was reshared by colleagues including Hannah Bardell MP, who had also reshared one from Amy Callaghan.

The SNP MP for East Dunbartonshire shared an image with the text: “A government reshuffle is not the story; cuts to Universal Credit, a National Insurance rise, and the threat on the triple lock pensions - all affecting our poorest, disadvantaged, and most in need - is the focus.”

Former Scottish government minister Marco Biagi tweeted: “I'm sure which Tory is getting which job is important, but so is a vote on whether 6m of the UK's poorest people have their livelihoods slashed.

“Maybe the media could remember that this afternoon? And a cynic might wonder whether the reshuffle timing is wholly coincidental.”

The Daily Mirror’s Rachel Wearmouth tweeted: “This reshuffle completely distracts from the vote on Universal Credit, btw, and the fact that slashing the £20 uplift is going to push people into poverty.”

Reshared by politicians including the SNP’s Neil Gray, Labour MP Chris Elmore commented: “A reshuffle to hide their hateful decision impacting families everywhere.”

The Cabinet Office has been approached for comment.