For immediate release:


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 (£)


Total 24,289,139
Aberdeen City Council 178,279
Angus Council 303,235
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*
Falkirk Council 221,682
Fife Council 1,170,082
Glasgow City Council 2,523,254
Highland Council 2,024,988
Inverclyde Council 791,226
Midlothian Council 3,663,950
North Ayrshire Council 323,000
North Lanarkshire Council 250,000
Orkney Islands Council 46,249
Perth and Kinross Council 473,000
Renfrewshire Council 1,596,000
South Ayrshire Council 293,495
South Lanarkshire Council 4,444,000


(£368,000 in costs + £4,076,000 in bad debt provision)

Moray Council 25,000
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

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