Local Councils spend millions mitigating Universal Credit

SNP MSP CALLS ON IMMEDIATE HALT TO FAILED TORY POLICY

SNP MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, Stuart McMillan, has renewed calls for an immediate halt to Universal Credit after it was revealed that councils are spending millions of pounds attempting to undo the damage of this failed Tory policy.

A series of Freedom of Information requests discovered that local authorities in Scotland have spent more than £24 million to mitigate the harmful effects of Universal Credit, which has faced huge backlash since its introduction.

Inverclyde Council has set aside £1.3m for spending related to UC, and estimates the total amount spent so far on costs associated with the rollout amounts to £791,226.

Universal Credit has been beset by problems since its rollout. This week, one of the UK’s biggest housing associations said that more than 100,000 children could face hardship over Christmas because families are being forced to wait for more than five weeks for their first benefit payment.

The Trussell Trust has also warned that they are preparing for their busiest month ever – after a 15% rise in foodbank use in Scotland in the past year.

Commenting, Mr McMillan said:

“Universal Credit is a broken system – it’s leaving people destitute, driving kids into poverty and forcing families to rely on foodbanks in Inverclyde.

“These latest eye-watering figures show that Inverclyde Council has been left picking up the pieces, already shelling out on more than three quarters of a million pounds on UC’s implementation, with more money set aside to mitigate the impact of these cruel so-called welfare reforms.

“Money is being diverted away from key public services to cover the costs and mitigate the damage caused by this appalling change being imposed by the UK Government on Scotland. That is fundamentally unfair.

“But there’s an easy solution – halt the rollout of Universal Credit and fix this broken policy. Or better still, put all welfare powers in the hands of the Scottish Parliament so we can build a social security system which puts dignity, fairness and respect at its heart.”

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