Greenock and Inverclyde MSP, Stuart McMillan, and Inverclyde MP, Ronnie Cowan, have welcomed the Scottish Government’s changes to how Scottish claimants receive Universal Credit, which begin today.
Recipients of Universal Credit making new claims in Scotland will now be offered two new ways to help them manage their money. From today (4 October), they have the choice of changing the frequency of their payments from once to twice a month, and to have the housing cost element of the UC paid directly to their landlord.
Commenting, Mr McMillan said:
“Universal Credit was introduced in Inverclyde in 2016 and the damaging effects of its rollout can already be seen in the area, as yesterday I revealed that Inverclyde Foodbank’s usage has risen by 67% in the last year.
“While Holyrood is trying to convince Westminster to halt full service Universal Credit until the issues surrounding the rollout are resolved, I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has introduced flexibilities within the system to help reduce the negative impact that Universal Credit is having on recipients, forcing many into rent arrears, debt and crisis.”
Mr Cowan added:
“The rollout of Universal Credit continues to be fraught with problems and my office is hearing stories from constituents, on a near daily basis, of issues in receiving welfare support in a timely manner. This is why I recently raised these concerns over Universal Credit at a meeting with the UK Government’s Minister for Employment.
“MP’s from all parties are highlighting their concerns about the rollout of Universal Credit and I recently added my name in support of a letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to halt the rollout until certain elements are fixed.
“The Scottish Government’s decision to allow new claims, in full service Universal Credit areas such as Inverclyde, the choice of changing the frequency of their payments from once to twice monthly, and to have the housing cost element of their Universal Credit paid directly to their landlord is welcomed.”