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Mhairi Condemns Six Week Wait for Universal Credit

The Scottish third sector has called for a halt to the full rollout of Universal Credit which is due to take place in October 2017. 25 Scottish charities and organisations have banded together to ask that the UK government puts the full rollout of the benefit on hold as it is flawed in its current state. Claimants have to wait 6 weeks from the claim beginning until they receive their first payment of the benefit.
Citizens Advice Scotland have condemned the 6 week wait for the benefit. Research by the organisation has shown that in areas piloting Universal Credit there has been an increase in crisis grants being issued, food bank usage has risen and we have also seen a 15% rise in people affected by rent arrears.
SNP MP Mhairi Black has condemned the six week waiting period and has written to the UK Minister for employment with her concerns.
Miss Black said
“I have written to the UK Minister for employment echoing the concerns of these charities and organisations. The Conservative Government are not living in reality if they cannot understand how much the 6 week waiting period is affecting communities. They are targeting society’s most vulnerable and encouraging benefit claimants to end up in debt and arrears to essentially pay rent and buy food for their families.
“Although the Scottish government have assured claimants that their rent can be paid directly to landlords it is important to remember that they have no power to reduce the waiting time for Universal Credit.
“I have met with countless charities and organisations over the past few months and the 6 week wait for Universal credit is a topic that comes up frequently as an issue. The UK Government have put no thought or consideration into people’s well being during the waiting period.
“I do not expect an empathetic reply from the DWP, however, I will continue to show my disdain for the 6 week waiting period until reasonable action is taken.”