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SNP challenge MPs to halt universal credit roll-out

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The SNP has called on MPs across political divides to vote on a debate on Universal Credit today (Wednesday) and halt its roll-out across the UK.

SNP Social Justice spokesperson Neil Gray has said Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson must stick to her word of working for Scotland in Westminster, and ensure her MPs vote against the roll-out of the controversial policy, in Scotland’s interests.

Thousands of Scots have been forced to apply for Crisis Grants due to delay in receiving their benefits under Universal Credit.

The Scottish Tory Leader falsely claimed that the six week wait for payment after applying for Universal Credit had been scrapped by the UK Government. Ms Davidson made the claim on the BBC’s Andrew Marr in an attempt to deflect uncomfortable questions about the damaging policy.

In reality, the changes announced by the UK Government only allow jobcentre staff to make claimants aware they can apply to receive advance payments within five working days, where they previously were not allowed to.

Any advance payment remains a loan that must be repaid – despite stats showing 52% of those who claim Universal Credit rely on the advance payment rather than being able to wait the in-built 6 week minimum wait.

Ruth Davidson has previously come under fire for making false claims about the ‘rape clause’, after she said all victims had to do was ‘tick a box’ – despite being required to fill out an 8-page form reliving their experience.

Theresa May has come under pressure from MPs, including from her own party, over problems with Universal Credit as the dreadful consequences of its roll-out become apparent.

Neil Gray MP said: “The roll-out of Universal Credit has been nothing short of a disaster – and for those it has failed it has been a personal catastrophe.

“Ruth Davidson must ensure her MPs are in full attendance to vote against the roll-out.

“Several Tory MPs have already indicated they will rebel so the Scottish Tories should throw their lot in with them and defeat the government. Theresa May has already faced lobbying from her own MPs on the issue.

“The SNP has repeatedly argued that the six-week delay in receiving the first universal credit payment is entirely unreasonable and is leaving families unable to make ends meet.

“We have also argued the need to alter payment frequency – which must be fortnightly rather than monthly – as proposed by the Scottish Government, and the status of any advance payments being loans also has to be addressed.

“Tory welfare cuts are having a devastating impact on low-income and disabled people across Scotland – and the botched roll-out of universal credit is just the latest disaster to hit households.”

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