Scottish ministers are demanding the UK Government immediately stop the roll-out of full service Universal Credit on the grounds that it is pushing more people into hardship and debt.
Payment delays have led to increased arrears and ultimately debt, which will no-doubt lead to more tenants losing their homes.
Scottish Government Communities and Social Security minister, Angela Constance MSP said:
“I’m today requesting a complete and immediate halt to the full service roll-out of Universal Credit in Scotland, which is having such an appalling impact on people across the country.
“It is clear that the system simply isn’t working and the UK Government is not prepared to make the necessary changes.
“The six week delay in receiving a payment – with longer delays for some being experienced – is a completely unacceptable situation and one which has the potential to push low income households into further hardship and homelessness.
“I was also shocked to hear reports that, in some areas, landlords are advertising properties as ‘No UC’ due to their experience with the system.
“Despite the UK government having these issues highlighted in the pilots for Universal Credit and by councils, charities, housing associations and parliamentarians, absolutely no meaningful reassurance has been received.
“I therefore cannot be confident that these issues are even close to being fully resolved and it is my view that it is simply not credible for the UK Government to continue with the further roll-out of full service Universal Credit until these problems are fully resolved.
“It is time for the UK Government to admit their mistake, and put people at the heart of their system, instead of ideology.”
The Scottish Government has long objected to the planned move to Universal Credit, having recently secured the means to modify the delivery of benefits in Scotland.
Three local authority areas across Scotland already have full service Universal Credit in place, with roll-out planned for further parts of the country in the coming weeks and months.
Ms Constance has written to her Westminster counterparts, the content of which may be read here.