“This is good news that the SNP Scottish Government is trying to offset the problems with Universal Credit”, said Stuart McMillan MSP.
The Scottish Government is being handed greater autonomy over how millions of pounds worth of benefits are paid to hundreds of thousands of Universal Credit claimants. The Scotland Bill gives Scotland new powers to make changes over how Universal Credit is paid, which will eventually affect over 700,000 households across the country.
The Scottish Government wants claimants to be given the choice of having their payments made twice a month rather than once a month, as the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) plan. They also want payment of the housing element to be made direct to landlords, for all new Universal Credit claims, where the claimant is renting from a social landlord. The Scottish Government is working with DWP to implement these changes.
Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil MSP said:
“We intend to use the administrative flexibilities offered around Universal Credit to do things differently and on Scotland’s own terms.
“We want housing costs to be paid direct to social landlords for new claims and for people to have choice of having their payments made more frequently than monthly, from the start of their claim.
“This will go a long way to ensuring that Universal Credit’s introduction in Scotland will be better suited to our needs and will give people more choice about how they manage their money.”
Stuart McMillan MSP added:
“This is a good move by the Scottish Government and will help lessen the problems of Universal Credit.
“Making payments more often as well as allowing housing costs to be paid direct to landlords can help those relying on universal credit.
“However, the real solution to the problems inherent in universal credit is to transfer all responsibilities – and the funding required – to the Scottish Government.”