Universal Credit Rollout & Job Centre Closures must be stopped


The Scottish National Party will today (Tuesday) call on the UK Government to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit and planned Jobcentre closures in Glasgow in light of the combined impact Tory social policies are having on low income households.

The roll-out of the Tories’ flagship Universal Credit benefit – which combines six payments into one – has been beset with delays and the average working family in receipt of UC will be more than £1,000 a year worse off by 2020.

The Institute for Government (IFG) thinktank reported that the UC project is six years behind schedule and Citizens Advice said “UC is failing to live up to its promise.  Right from the outset people have experienced problems… delays to claims and errors in their payments.” And  last year The Resolution Foundation said that UC had “serious design flaws” and had “veered off track”.

SNP MP Drew Hendry, whose Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency was one of the first areas where Universal Credit was introduced, will lead today’s opposition day debate.  He said:

“The Tory obsession with austerity continues to punish low income families despite Theresa May’s latest “shared society” slogan.  Despite Iain Duncan Smith quitting his role at the Department for Work and Pensions last spring, the Tories’ still haven’t abandoned his failed UC project.

“The reality is that Universal Credit will fail to lift children out of poverty, it will fail to eradicate existing inequalities for families who are already struggling to make ends meet and it will fail disabled people due to the devastating cuts to Employment Support Allowance.

“And on top of these cuts, the DWP plans to slash 50% of the Jobcentres in Glasgow – these proposals are morally outrageous and fly in the face of the Tory promise to “work for the many and not the privileged few”.

“While 85% of welfare spending – including Universal Credit – remains reserved to the UK Government and firmly in Tory hands, the SNP Scottish Government is working to ensure we build a Scottish Social Security Agency with respect and dignity at its core with the powers that we do have.

“The Tories must pay attention to the evidence and bring this disastrous project right back to the drawing board – Theresa May must halt the roll-out of UC and planned Jobcentre closures in Glasgow so that these regressive policies can do no more damage to some of the most disadvantaged in Scotland.”