RUTHERGLEN MSP BACKS CHARITY CALLS FOR UNIVERSAL CREDIT RETHINK

For immediate release

RUTHERGLEN MSP BACKS CHARITY CALLS FOR UNIVERSAL CREDIT RETHINK

Rutherglen MSP, Clare Haughey, has voiced her support for calls by Britain’s biggest foodbank charity for urgent changes to Universal Credit. The Trussell Trust has warned that foodbank use in Scotland has risen by 15% in the five months to September, due to the in-built minimum wait of five weeks for a first payment – with many more people waiting even longer.

Mid-year statistics provided by the Trust for Rutherglen constituency indicate that, between 1st April and 30th September in Rutherglen, 2340 three-day emergency food supplies were given to local people in crisis, with 647 going to children.

Across the UK, foodbanks in The Trussell Trust network distributed 658,048 three-day emergency food supplies to help people in crisis, a rise of 13% for the same period last year. Of these, 232,761 went to children.

The Trussell Trust have also said that when Universal Credit goes live in an area, there is a demonstrable increase in demand for local foodbanks. On average, 12 months after the rollout of Universal Credit, foodbanks see a 52% increase in demand.

These figures come as the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights is visiting the UK to investigate the impact of austerity.

At a debate in the Scottish Parliament on UK Government welfare cuts, the Scottish Government called for the immediate halt of the rollout of Universal Credit, which has brought debt and hardship to Scottish communities.

Whilst UK Work and Pensions Secretary, Esther McVey, has stated that Universal Credit is the “right direction for the country,” local MSP, Clare Haughey, is backing the call from the Trussell Trust for the reduction in the 5-week minimum wait for the first Universal Credit payment.

Commenting, Clare said:

“These are heart-breaking figures, which bring into sharp focus the disastrous impact of Tory austerity on our communities.”

“The fact that foodbank use continues to grow is a damning indictment of UK government cuts to welfare, and the botched rollout of Universal Credit. As these figures show, the long delay in getting a first payment pushes people into crisis aid, and is one example of why the roll out of Universal Credit must be halted so the fundamental flaws can be addressed.”

“Esther McVey’s claim that Universal Credit is the “right direction for the country” is, frankly, insulting and shows just how out-of-touch the UK government is.

“Westminster has shown time and time again that it cannot be trusted with social security. It is time for the Scottish Parliament to have the powers we need to make Scotland a fairer, more equal country and address the causes of inequality.”

ENDS

 

Date published: 7th November 2018

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