In an adjournment debate at Westminster this evening SNP MP Drew Hendry is calling on the UK Government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) in light of the impact it is having on low income households.
The roll-out of the Tories’ flagship policy – which combines six payments into one – has been beset with delays and basic grinding errors – with the average working family in receipt of UC more than £1,000 a year worse off by 2020.
The Institute for Government (IFG) has reported that the UC project is a shocking six years behind schedule and Citizens Advice said “UC is failing to live up to its promise. Right from the outset people have experienced problems… delays to claims and errors in their payments.” .
SNP MP Drew Hendry, whose Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency was one of the first areas where Universal Credit was piloted, has called the rollout of new regime “shambolic”.
Ahead of his debate – Drew Hendry MP said : “I want my debate to highlight the Tory obsession with austerity, which continues to punish low income families despite the Tory promise to “work for the many and not the privileged few”.
“Universal Credit has left no one unaffected – single parents, working families, the disabled, the unemployed and those in need of housing support are all being punished by the shambolic rollout.
“For months I have been asking the Minister to halt the rollout of full service until issues are resolved – these calls have been ignored and the situation is now at crisis point.
“Through no fault of their own, people are being left for months without money, and when they seek help it appears obstacles are put in their way.
“At the heart of this rollout there is a damning litany of failure, confusion, heartache, indignity, and a drive towards increased poverty.
“There are long delays to payments, short payments, lost sick notes and childcare receipts, misplaced documents, failure to respond and confusion between departments.
“The reality is that Universal Credit will not only fail to lift children out of poverty, it will fail to eradicate existing inequalities for families who are already struggling to make ends meet and it will fail disabled people due to the devastating cuts to Employment Support Allowance.
“While 85% of welfare spending – including Universal Credit – remains reserved to the UK Government and firmly in Tory hands, the SNP Scottish Government is working to ensure we build a Scottish Social Security Agency with respect and dignity at its core with the powers that we do have.
“The Tories must pay attention to the evidence and bring this disastrous project right back to the drawing board – so that these regressive policies can do no more damage to some of the most disadvantaged in Scotland.”
This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).