SNP highlight ‘deep concerns’ with Universal Credit ahead of crunch debate

Jobcentre Plus sign.

MSPs will today (Tuesday) debate the “deep concerns with Universal Credit” as highlighted by Holyrood’s Social Security Committee report into in-work poverty – underlining the urgent need for the Tories to fix their broken welfare system.

According to the report, people moving from tax credits to Universal Credit will face “significant issues” as the number of workers in poverty has increased at a faster rate than the total number of people in employment.

The Committee also called for an end to in-work sanctions, and warned that the dramatic reduction in the number of job centres at a time when Universal Credit was being rolled-out across Scotland was a “serious error of judgement.”

DWP HQ, Caxton House, London. Photo: Paul Billanie for Welfare Weekly.

Despite requests, neither the Tory Secretary of State for Work and Pension nor the Minister of State for Employment accepted the committee’s invitation to give evidence during the inquiry.

Alasdair Allan MSP, who sits on Holyrood’s Social Security Committee, said: “This report is a stark warning from those at the front-line of the fight against poverty, and yet another example of Westminster’s failures – it confirms the disastrous impact the Tory’s welfare cuts and sanctions are having on vulnerable people across Scotland.

“It’s clear that Tory MSPs have their heads firmly in the sand over their Westminster colleagues’ deeply harmful welfare policies.

“They remain in denial over the damage this welfare system is causing, with people struggling to pay for essentials even though they have a job.

“The Scottish Government is already taking action, but there’s a limit to what we can do with one hand tied behind our back.

“If the UK Government does not urgently reform the welfare system, in-work poverty will rise further, as working people transfer to Universal Credit and find themselves worse-off.”