NEW UNIVERSAL CREDIT CLAIMANTS WON’T RECEIVE MONEY UNTIL NEW YEAR

For immediate release:

NEW UNIVERSAL CREDIT CLAIMANTS WON’T RECEIVE MONEY UNTIL NEW YEAR

Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey has once more slammed the UK Government’s Universal Credit policy saying that because of it people may be left ‘cashless this Christmas’.

The in-built wait of a minimum of five weeks before payment means that anyone making a claim this month will need to survive until January without money to which they are entitled.

The Trussell Trust recently reported a 15% increase in the number of food supplies distributed across Scotland, compared with the same period last year, and revealed that between April 1 and September 30 in Rutherglen, 2340 three-day emergency food supplies were given to local people in crisis, with 647 going to children.

The foodbank organisation has also called for a reduction in the five-week wait to prevent even more people being forced to foodbanks this winter.

Castlemilk was one of the last three jobcentres in Scotland for Universal Credit to be fully rolled-out to new claimants, which took place on December 5.

Commenting, Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey said:

“Christmas is a time of additional expense for most people but it’s particularly hard for families with little money to begin with.

“It is therefore unacceptable that anyone making a claim for Universal Credit in December will not see their money until next year, and may be left cashless this Christmas.

“The minimum five-week wait for a first payment is just one of the many problems with Universal Credit, the roll-out of which has led to sharp rises in the use of food banks and rent arrears locally.

“While the DWP do offer advance payments, this needs to be paid back from future payments, locking families in to further debt at the start of a new year.

“Previous calls for the roll-out to be halted have been ignored and Universal Credit will be available in all areas before Christmas. The UK Government must now make the fundamental changes needed to make Universal Credit fit for purpose before the managed migration of people on legacy benefits begins next summer.”

ENDS

Notes:

Trussell Trust Rutherglen figures, and call to reduce the five-week wait, were provided to Clare Haughey MSP in an email from the organisation on the 6th November. An excerpt is copied below:

Dear Ms Clare Haughey MSP,

I’m writing from The Trussell Trust, a charity which runs a network of over 428 foodbanks across the UK.

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. This is a measure of volume rather than unique users, and on average people needed 1.7 foodbank referrals in a six month period.

Scotland has seen a 15% increase in the number of food supplies distributed compared to the same period last year.

The Trussell Trust is calling for the reduction in the 5 week minimum wait for the first UC payment, to prevent even more people being forced to foodbanks this winter.

 

Date published: 5th December 2018

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