For immediate release:
SOUTH LANARKSHIRE COUNCIL TOP OF UNIVERSAL CREDIT SPENDING LEAGUE
Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey has renewed calls for an immediate halt to Universal Credit after it was revealed that councils are spending millions of pounds attempting to undo the damage of the ‘failed’ UK Government policy.
A series of Freedom of Information requests discovered that local authorities in Scotland have spent or put aside more than £24 million to mitigate the harmful effects of Universal Credit, which has faced huge backlash since its introduction.
As the Rutherglen Reformer previously reported, it has been revealed South Lanarkshire Council has spent £368,000 in staffing and other costs associated with Universal Credit, whilst its tenants have accumulated arrears totalling £768,000.
In addition to this, £4.1 million has been set aside through ‘bad debt provision’ within the council’s Housing and Revenue budget for this financial year to reflect the anticipated impact of full service Universal Credit.
Provided to the Rutherglen Reformer by Clare Haughey MSP, Freedom of Information requests have shown South Lanarkshire Council is the worst affected in Scotland.
The Rutherglen MSP called these figures ‘eye-watering’ and has called on all social security powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
Commenting, Clare Haughey said:
“Universal Credit is a failed system. It’s leaving people destitute, driving kids into poverty and forcing families to rely on foodbanks in Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
“As the Rutherglen Reformer has previously reported, South Lanarkshire Council has been hit hard by the roll-out too.
“These eye-watering figures show that the local authority is picking up the pieces, being forced to earmark over £4 million for bad debt provision.
“Money is being diverted away from key public services to cover the costs and mitigate the damage caused by this appalling change being imposed by the UK Government on Scotland. That is fundamentally unfair.
“But there’s an easy solution – halt the rollout of Universal Credit and fix this broken policy. Or better still, put all welfare powers in the hands of the Scottish Parliament – so we can build a social security system which puts dignity, fairness and respect at its heart.”
Attached is the document containing the series of Freedom of Information requests. Calculated totals, for ease of reference, are below:
|Local Authority||Total Universal Credit Spending (£)
|Aberdeen City Council||178,279|
|Argyll & Bute Council||37,100|
|Comhairle nan Eilean Siar||9,894|
|Dumfries & Galloway Council||325,334|
|Dundee City Council||47,319|
|East Ayrshire Council||342,000|
|East Dunbartonshire Council||426,000|
|East Lothian Council||1,419,918|
|East Renfrewshire Council||327,000|
|City of Edinburgh Council||3,000,000*|
|Glasgow City Council||2,523,254|
|North Ayrshire Council||323,000|
|North Lanarkshire Council||250,000|
|Orkney Islands Council||46,249|
|Perth and Kinross Council||473,000|
|South Ayrshire Council||293,495|
|South Lanarkshire Council||4,444,000
(£368,000 in costs + £4,076,000 in bad debt provision)
|West Dunbartonshire Council||17,134|
- ‘Total Universal Credit Spending’ includes funding already spent by local authorities and money currently committed or ring-fenced.
- Those local authorities not included in the table were either unable to differentiate spending associated with Universal Credit from other spending, did not hold the information, or have not committed specific funding to Universal Credit Roll-Out.
Date published: 29th November 2018