Universal Credit Savaged by Public Spending Watchdog

The Tory Government’s shambolic and cruel “Universal Credit” benefit has been slated by public spending watchdog The National Audit Office. In a report published on Friday 15 June, the NAO says that Universal Credit cannot prove it helps more people into work, does not deliver value for money and will probably end up costing more than the benefit system it replaces.

The report paints a damning picture of Universal Credit and the Department of Work and Pensions, saying they are defensive, insensitive and dismissive of the pleas from welfare advisors and those directly affected by the roll out of the benefit.

Stirling Labour’s spokesperson on welfare, and Convenor of Stirling Council’s Community Planning & Regeneration Committee, Cllr Chris Kane says,

“It is difficult to overstate how much of a negative impact the introduction of Universal Credit has had in Stirling since it was introduced on 28th June 2017.  In the last few months I have heard stories so astonishing that they are almost inconceivable; women fleeing domestic violence being told that before they can begin the long grotesque wait for a new application to be processed, they must first spend weeks disentangling an existing joint claim and must do it with their abusive partner at their side.  Single parents having to go their library because a claim can only be made online and they can’t afford a computer, or internet access, at home.   This new report says that 46% of people say they do not have the digital skills to complete the application without assistance. Up and down the country, council after council, CAB after CAB, claimant after claimant have been sharing evidence with the Tories on the scale of the problem, but other than tinkering around the edges, nothing of substance has changed.  I am ashamed of this Tory Government and its universal credit system that is fundamentally flawed and is devastating to the most vulnerable people in our communities” 

For the last few months Chris has chaired a Short Life Working Group on Stirling Council which has been investigating how the Universal Credit rollout has impacted on Stirling citizens and  council tenants.  The report is due to be published next week ahead of being reported to the full meeting of Stirling Council on 28th June.

Chris also said,

“My thanks go out to Stirling Council staff and third sector partners such as Home Start, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Start-Up Stirling and the Stirling Carers Centre for their professionalism and compassion.  It is in stark contrast to the spiteful bureaucratic barbarism of the Tory Government at Westminster.”  

If you are affected by Universal Credit, you can seek advice at various drop in events at Stirling Council libraries, by contacting the Stirling Citizens Advice Bureau, or if you are a Stirling Council tenant, by contacting Housing Services.

This story relates to our 2017 Stirling Council Manifesto Commitment

  • We will work tirelessly to create good jobs, warm homes, caring communities and excellent education opportunities for all.