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Universal Credit was rolled out in Oban tomorrow (Wednesday September 19), replacing six means-tested benefits payments.
Claimants who previously received Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income support, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit will now receive one monthly Universal Credit payment.
Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara previously warned that the new system will have a ‘devastating impact’ in Argyll.
A report by Stirling Council showed foodbank use in its area had doubled after the new benefit was introduced last year.
Mr O’Hara said: ‘Universal Credit is driving more people into poverty, causing severe hardship and stress and forcing people into relying upon foodbanks. It’s an unthinking, callous approach which victimises those
who simply need an extra bit of help.’
The government’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Council, deemed it an ‘inefficient’ system that often caused claimants ‘difficulty and hardship’, with one in five applicants being paid late.
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: ‘Universal Credit is rolling out successfully across the country with people getting into work quicker and staying in work longer.’