Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has highlighted the publication of a new report by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) attacking flaws in the Universal Credit system.
The local MP has dealt with hundreds constituent cases relating to problems with welfare support, including Universal Credit.
As a result, Angela is hosting a specific surgery relating to social security entitlement, in conjunction with CAS and Money Matters.
The welfare surgery will take place on Friday 17 June in Forth Community Resource Centre, between 10am and 12pm.
The CAS report highlights flaws in the design of the system, problems in its administration and possible future challenges for the roll-out of Universal Credit.
Design issues include:
- A six-week wait to receive a first payment;
- Challenges caused to claimants by a single monthly payment;
- The effect of Universal Credit sanctions;
- a primarily online system, when around 20% of users struggle to use the internet.
Administrative and transitional challenges include:
- Confusion caused by running UC in parallel with an existing legacy benefits system;
- Issues with the Universal Credit Helpline, including no Freephone number;
- Early administrative issues causing delays in claims being processed;
- Teething problems with the Real Time Information system from employers.
Future Challenges include:
- The impact of numerous changes made to elements of UC by the UK Government’s 2015 Budget and Autumn Statement;
- The unknown impact of “in-work conditionality” for claimants;
- The devolution of some administrative functions to the Scottish Government.
Commenting on the report, Angela said:
“This report highlights serious concerns around both the design and the implementation of Universal Credit – and these come from the real-life experience of the rollout to date.
“In Westminster, I have highlighted a number of these issues with the Government, but there seems to be little desire on their part to change course.
“If the UK Government continues to refuse to listen to the evidence from respected organisations like CAS on the welfare system problems then low-income families here in Lanark and Hamilton East will needlessly suffer.
“The changes to the welfare system have hit the most vulnerable and, as the report shows, left those that need it most in the dark.
“I will continue to give my constituents a voice in Parliament, and would encourage anyone who has concerns about their entitlement to come to my welfare surgery next Friday.”