Publised date : 23 Jul 2018

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have today called on the UK Government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit.

Their intervention follows claims from whistleblowers that the IT system upon which Universal Credit is built is “fundamentally broken and poorly designed”. As a result, this has led to significant delays and mistakes to claimants’ benefit payments. These delays are adding on average an additional three weeks to the initial 35-day waiting period for an initial benefit payment, thereby pushing claimants further into debt, rent arrears and reliance on food banks.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“The latest news regarding the roll-out of Universal Credit is as worrying as it is unsurprising. The SNP have consistently warned that the migration to Universal Credit would be expensive, damaging to claimants and would not provide value for money.

Our fears were confirmed with the publication of last month’s National Audit Office report, which concluded that Universal Credit had been an expensive disaster.

With more than 7 million people due to be migrated over to the Universal Credit system, it is vital that steps are taken to address the very serious flaws that currently exist. No one within Perthshire region should be forced into food poverty or rent arrears because the Tory Government are too proud to hold their hands up and admit their mistakes.

Accordingly, I am calling for the UK Government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit, until such times as the system is fit for purpose. I will be writing to the Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, to put forward my concerns.”

Mr Swinney’s concerns were echoed by Pete Wishart MP, who stated:

“This is yet another example of the feckless Tory Government causing chaos with the lives of everyday people.

“From Brexit to benefits payments, this is a government which is happy to cause misery to the people of Perthshire, as long as it suits their right-wing ideology.

“I have already heard horror stories from my constituents regarding their experience of Universal Credit. Theresa May must recognise that she has got it wrong on Universal Credit and take steps to address this fiasco.” 

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