MP for Glenrothes and Central Fife, Peter Grant, has backed calls from Citizens Advice Scotland and twenty-four charities to halt the rollout of Universal Credit in Scotland.
The charities, who all offer support to those affected by the new benefit, have joined forces to highlight the flaws plighting Universal Credit since it was rolled out on a ‘test and learn’ basis, prior to an accelerated rollout due to begin this October.
The flaws they have identified include a six week waiting time between a claimant’s initial claim and their first payment, and the fact that Universal Credit is an entirely online system, making it difficult for those without internet access or computer skills to make a claim.
Commenting, Peter Grant MP said:
“Universal Credit is due to be rolled out in my constituency this December and, given the problems already identified, I am expecting an influx of enquiries from constituents around this time. I have already had discussions with one of the four Job Centres used by my constituents about how claimants can be supported, particularly over the festive period, and I hope to meet with the others soon.
"I have no doubt that staff and management in all Job Centres will do everything they can to help everyone but they are working in a system set up by a Tory government and it's a system that still has serious flaws and unfairness built into it.
“The Scottish Government will be seeking to use its newly devolved powers in some areas of welfare to offer fortnightly rather than monthly payments for Universal Credit claimants. Tenants who wish to have their rent paid directly to their landlords will also be given that option.
“I have signed an Early Day Motion lodged by my colleague Drew Hendry MP in the UK Parliament, commending the work of Citizens Advice Scotland and the charities who have collectively highlighted the suffering of those affected by the rollout of Universal Credit and supporting their calls to pause the rollout. I and my SNP colleagues will continue to do all we can to push the UK Government to work to solve the problems with Universal Credit to ensure vulnerable people are not subjected to unnecessary further anguish.”