SNP MSP Christina McKelvie 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.
South Lanarkshire Council has set aside £4,454,000 for spending related to UC.
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, and the Trussell Trust has warned that they are preparing for their busiest month ever - after a 15% rise in foodbank use in Scotland in the past year.
SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said:
“Universal Credit is a broken system – it’s leaving people destitute, driving kids into poverty and forcing families to rely on foodbanks in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.
“And these latest eye-watering figures show that [local authority] has been left picking up the pieces, being forced to shell out £4,454,000 and a total of £24,289,139 across Scotland.
“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.”