What is the SNP position on Universal Credit?
Universal Credit - the UK government’s flagship welfare policy - is a new payment to replace several existing benefits, including housing benefit and child tax credits, with one single monthly payment.
The rollout in selected pilot areas is turning into an unmitigated disaster. The in-built minimum six-week delay in receiving the first payment is having catastrophic consequences, with families falling behind in rent payments and increasingly relying on emergency welfare support and foodbanks. If fully implemented, Universal Credit cuts will put 1 million more children into poverty by 2020.
The SNP Scottish government will use limited social security powers to protect people in Scotland, helping between 650,000 and 700,000 households. The changes will mean those on Universal Credit in Scotland can opt to be paid twice monthly and rent can be paid direct to landlords, making it easier for people to manage their money. However, the Scottish government does not have the power to fix the damage being inflicted by a six-week delay in receiving payments.
At Westminster, SNP MPs will continue to push the UK government to stop ignoring the overwhelming evidence that Universal Credit is causing unnecessary hardship to thousands of families across the country. We want Tory Ministers to halt this rollout until these fundamental flaws in the system are addressed.