UNIVERSAL CREDIT PLUNGING POOR INTO DEBT
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has warned that a benefit designed to provide a safety net for welfare claimants is making their situation "much worse" and plunging them into rent arrears and debt. The charity has called for a halt to the roll-out of the UK Government's flagship Universal Credit, which was intended to simplify the system by combining six benefits into one payment. Instead, in areas where it has been introduced in Scotland, there has been a ten-fold increase in people contacting the charity about crisis grants and a 600% increase in clients with rent arrears. The charity says the UK Government needs to fix "major" flaws in the system, which are leaving many Scots unable to make ends meet. Patricia Gibson MP commented: "One of the main problems is a six-week wait for payment at the beginning of the claim process, during which claimants are likely to have no income. "The SNP supports CAS in calling for a halt in the accelerated roll-out of Universal Credit, so these problems can be fixed before more families find themselves in crisis."