SNP MSP for the Stirling Constituency, Bruce Crawford, and SNP Councillor for Bannockburn and the Eastern Villages, Alasdair MacPherson, have hit out at the UK Budget announcement from the Chancellor of additional cash for Universal Credit – highlighting that it goes nowhere near enough to address the problems faced by local people in the Stirling area.
Since being introduced to the Stirling area over a year ago, Universal Credit has resulted in:
- Rent arrears quadrupling to over £100,000 for Council properties.
- A sharp rise in food bank referrals.
- An increase in crisis grants.
- Domestic abuse victims being made more financially vulnerable.
The system has been accused of being riddled with problems that push vulnerable people into deeper hardship.
- The five-week minimum wait for the first Universal Credit payment has been directly blamed for forcing people into rent arrears and being referred to food banks.
- The two-child cap and disgusting rape clause is punishing poorer families for having more than two children, and forcing mothers to prove that they have been raped in order to receive the support they need.
- The single payment per household puts domestic abuse victims into an even more vulnerable position, giving an abusive partner greater ability to control finances.
New analysis by the Resolution Foundation today has shown that three-quarters of the £12billion cuts to social security announced by the UK government in 2015 will remain in place after yesterday’s Budget – making a mockery of Tory claims that austerity is over.
The independent analysis reveals that the overall impact of Tory tax and benefit policies will once again help the rich at the expense of the poor – with the poorest fifth of households set to be £400 a year worse off by 2023-24, while the richest fifth are set to gain £390 a year.
Commenting, Bruce Crawford said:
“This time last year, I joined locals in a march through Stirling, calling for the Tory Government to halt this broken system. They haven’t listened, and instead even more people have been forced to suffer as a result of Universal Credit.
“To be clear, my colleagues and I agree that making a complex system simpler for those who need support is a sound idea, but this should never have been an excuse for the Tories to cut the support that the poorest in our society receive.
“At its core, Universal Credit isn’t working and many of my constituents are suffering as a result. I want the rollout paused and for no more people to be added to this system until Tory Ministers fix the problems. The argument that the rollout is already taking long enough simply isn’t good enough when people are suffering.”
Councillor Alasdair MacPherson added:
“I am angry about the way that this Tory Government is treating many of my constituents. Universal Credit is riddled with problems, from the two-child cap and disgusting rape clause, to the absurd five-week minimum wait for an initial payment.
“The Council’s own figures speak for themselves, with more people being forced to use food banks, more people falling into rent arrears, and more people having to take a crisis grant from the Scottish Government. It is utterly disgraceful that our own Tory MP continues to be a cheerleader for this callous approach to welfare, he must know the suffering that it has caused.
“What the Chancellor is proposing is nowhere near enough to fix this system. It must be halted right now, too many people have suffered.”