Rollout of Universal Credit is an unmitigated disaster and it must be stopped

If you haven’t heard of Universal Credit, you will soon – unless the Tories wake up to the reality of the situation facing families across the United Kingdom, do the right thing and change their plans.

They describe Universal Credit as their welfare flagship. The rollout of Universal Credit – so far in selected pilot areas – is turning into an unmitigated disaster. It replaces several existing benefits, including housing benefit and child tax credits, with one single monthly payment.

People moving on to Universal Credit are potentially faced with a six-week delay before receiving the first payment. That can cause severe financial impact in some cases.

SNP MPs and MSPs have been leading the charge against this utter shambles of a Tory policy that needs to be halted now before any more damage is done.

One of the pilot areas in Scotland is in the Inverness constituency of my Parliamentary colleague Drew Hendry. His office has had to deal with mountains of problems and difficulties. Drew made an incredibly powerful speech at our party conference last week.

He spoke about the stories he hears every day about Universal Credit difficulties, stories of personal humiliation, real desperation and suffering.

Awful stories about people who, through no fault of their own, have been forced into rent arrears. People, who because of Department for Work and Pensions “errors”, have been evicted from their homes or are surviving on food vouchers.

Think about that – losing your home, going into debt or facing real hardship. This roll-out is an utter disaster. The Tories brush it all aside and say: “It is working”. It is not. It is utterly cruel and it has to be stopped now.

This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.