Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has called on the UK government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) after the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that more than 15,000 people living in South Lanarkshire are in receipt of the benefit.
Universal Credit – the UK government’s flagship welfare policy – is a payment to replace several existing benefits, including housing benefit and child tax credits, with one single monthly payment.
UC is entirely reserved to the UK Government.
The Scottish Government have limited powers to support people in how they are paid and use these to protect people in Scotland.
People on the benefit in Scotland can opt for Universal Credit Scottish Choices, meaning they can choose to be paid twice monthly and for their rent to be paid direct to landlords, making it easier for people to manage their money.
However, the Scottish Government does not have the power to fix the damage being inflicted by a five-week delay in receiving payments.
Commenting, Angela said: “The rollout of Universal Credit has turned into an unmitigated disaster.
“The in-built minimum five-week delay in receiving the first payment is having catastrophic consequences, with families falling behind in rent payments and increasingly relying on emergency welfare support and foodbanks.
“When fully implemented, Universal Credit cuts will put 1 million more children into poverty by 2020.
“I will continue to push the UK government to stop ignoring the overwhelming evidence that Universal Credit is causing unnecessary hardship and failing thousands of families across the country.
“Universal Credit must be radically reformed, halting the move to the roll-out until the flaws have been fixed.”