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MSP and MP Call for Immediate Halt to Roll-out Out Universal Credit

Published date : 23 Mar 2017

JEANE FREEMAN MSP AND CORRI WILSON MP CALL FOR IMMEDIATE HALT TO ROLLOUT OF UNIVERSAL CREDIT

MSP Jeane Freeman and MP Corri Wilson are backing Scottish Government calls to halt the rollout of the full service of Universal Credit until problems with its implementation are fully resolved.

The Scottish Government has written to the UK Government to raise urgent concerns over how Universal Credit is pushing more people into hardship and debt. The full service of Universal Credit - i.e. where people must have an online account to manage their claim or apply for a benefit – is operational in certain parts of the country, and partially operational across Ayrshire.

The way it is paid means new claimants have to wait six weeks before receiving their first payment, resulting in tenants building up rent arrears and being pushed to seek crisis or hardship payments. Delays in payments have seen landlords, including housing associations, reporting financial difficulties, with councils reporting record rent arrears.

Communities and Social Security Secretary Angela Constance issued the call ahead of a speech to Shelter Scotland’s Homelessness Conference, where the impact of the UK Government’s welfare changes on homelessness in Scotland was discussed.

Jeane Freeman MSP welcomed Ms Constance’s call to halt the roll-out, saying:

“The evidence of the hardship caused by Universal Credit is clear. I’m also very concerned about the need for claimants to claim and bank online.  Recent bank closures in Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley have seen many constituents approach me, and it is very clear that many people do not have online access and cannot easily get online.  This process is completely unsuitable for some of the most vulnerable people.”

Corri Wilson MP also supported the call, stating:

“Universal Credit has been beset by problems from the outset. It has been delayed, it has been shrouded in secrecy, it has written off hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money, and it has faced growing opposition from political parties, charities, local councils, think tanks, third sector organisations and the public. After a series of damaging cuts to the scheme, it is now clear that, worst of all, people will be worse off under Universal Credit than they were under the system it is replacing.

“It is a system that is not fit for purpose, and represents a shift towards a policy of unachievable requirements and harsh penalties. It is, quite simply, just another tool deployed by this Tory Government to absolve itself of any responsibility for those who are struggling to get by. These cuts are being made out of choice, not necessity, and it is not too late for the UK Government to put a stop to it.”

ENDS

Social Security
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