In response to a question asked by Kenneth Gibson MSP, Minister for Local Government & Housing Kevin Stewart MSP revealed the extent of the adverse effect that the introduction of Universal Credit has had on families in North Ayrshire.
Mr Stewart confirmed that since the UK Government rolled out its disastrous Universal Credit policy in North Ayrshire last November, there has been a sharp increase in the number of people registering as homeless and in foodbank use.
North Ayrshire Council attributes both of these trends to the delays people have experienced in receiving their payments and the cuts to these benefits, reporting a 19.5% increase in the number of households in rent arrears. People claiming Universal Credit have been met with myriad bureaucratic delays and administrative errors, resulting in them waiting, in some cases, over two months, before they receive money for basic essentials.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“The Tories at Westminster pledged to make work pay, yet thousands of working households across Scotland will be hundreds or thousands of pounds worse off under Universal Credit.
“This evidence clearly demonstrates that Universal Credit is failing the people of North Ayrshire and the UK Government must halt the roll-out of this ill thought-out and poorly executed policy, before more families are forced into debt and poverty.”
Kevin Stewart MSP added:
“We continue to hear evidence of the damaging impacts of Universal Credit and wrote again last week to the UK Government urging them to pause the roll out until the problems with Universal Credit are fixed. This call continues to go unanswered.”