MP’s REITERATE CALLS TO UK GOVERNMENT TO HALT UNIVERSAL CREDIT ROLL-OUT
Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie and Dundee West MP Chris Law have both called on the Conservative UK Government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit throughout the country.
Full service Universal Credit has now been rolled out to almost every local authority in Scotland, including Dundee last November, however the large majority of benefits claimants are still on their older existing benefits, called legacy benefits and which include child and working tax credit and housing benefit.
The UK Government has postponed the migration of these claimants to Universal Credit, however still plans to have moved every claimant in the UK to Universal Credit by December 2023.
Since the roll-out of Full Service Universal Credit in Dundee began late last year, the city has seen a sharp rise in foodbank use and earlier this year it was reported that in the annual period of 2017/18 Dundee City Council was forced to spend more than £2.5 million mitigating the effects of changes to benefits such as the bedroom tax and the switch to Universal Credit.
Further shocking figures revealed a 1400% rise in the number of people seeking emergency handouts since Universal Credit was introduced across the UK.
Commenting Stewart Hosie MP said:
“As the MP for Dundee East, an area with Full Service Universal Credit, I have seen first-hand the damaging effects of the UK Government’s disastrous roll-out of the service.”
“I am reminded every day, whether by the volume of cases my office receives regarding Universal Credit or by the surge in food bank use that Dundee has experienced since the roll-out, of the cruel and callous nature of this Conservative UK Government. I have, alongside my SNP colleagues, taken the UK Government to task over their failures time and time again on Universal Credit and will continue to do so.”
“It is scandalous that local authorities like Dundee are having to spend so much money mitigating the cruel and misguided policies of this Tory Government. The SNP have a strong record of opposing austerity and I’m proud of the SNPs commitment to mitigate policies such as the bedroom tax however I know that we would all like to see this money being spent somewhere else, especially at this important and exciting time for the city of Dundee.”
“These policies aren’t just harming people by taking money out their pockets, they are preventing local authorities from using money to benefit local communities. It’s time for the Conservatives to reconsider their damaging austerity agenda and rethink their disastrous roll-out of Universal Credit.”
Commenting Chris Law MP said:
"Thousands of Dundonians will rightly be worried about the UK Government’s plans to migrate them from their current benefits, such as child and working tax credits, to a system which has severe and proven issues. Numerous studies have shown that instances of rent arrears and foodbank use are significantly higher amongst Universal Credit claimants than amongst those on the legacy benefits, which is simply unjustifiable.
Universal Credit was meant to be an improvement on the existing system, but has instead caused untold misery for many of those forced onto it. The significant flaws with Universal Credit must be fixed long before the UK Government even considers migrating more over to it, and make sure that they do not plunge thousands more across Dundee and Scotland into poverty as a result of their ill-thought out changes."