SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South Mhairi Black called out the Prime Minister for constantly defending the broken Universal Credit system – citing calls from Stirling Tory Councillors for Stirling Council to commit £600 million over the next three years to mitigate against the impact it is having on vulnerable people.
Tory Councillors put forward an amendment to the SNP and Labour partnership Administration Budget to commit £200,000 of spending every year for the next three years for Universal credit mitigation. The Administration committed £200,000 in their own Budget this year, however, voted down the Tory amendment, stating it will be looked at year on year.
During Questions to the Prime Minister, Mhairi Black MP asked:
“The Prime Minister continues to sing the praises of universal credit while willfully ignoring the devastation that it is still causing. How does she square her position with the fact that her Tory colleagues in Stirling Council have called for over half a million pounds-worth of funding in order to mitigate the enormous human suffering caused by universal credit?”
Stirling’s Tory MP has praised the Universal Credit system since he was elected, despite Stirling Council reporting it having caused a spike in rent arrears, crisis grants and food bank referrals.
SNP Stirling Council Leader, Councillor Scott Farmer, criticised the Tory MP:
“The scale of the impact that Universal Credit is having on vulnerable people across the Stirling area is sickening. Individuals and families with small children are being forced to choose whether that can heat their homes or feed themselves.
“Rent arrears have gone through the roof, there has been a sharp rise in crisis grants through the Scottish Welfare Fund, and food bank referrals have increased substantially.
“This is an unfair and broken system and it must be halted until it is fixed. It is not helping, it is seriously hurting many people that I represent on Stirling Council and that Mr Kerr is supposed to represent in Westminster.
“Whilst these vulnerable people are being forced into deeper and deeper hardship, it takes for an SNP MP from Paisley to stand up for their interests – and I am grateful to my colleague Mhairi Black for doing so.
“Tory Councillors on Stirling Council do not appear to have any faith in this system doing anything other than harming vulnerable people, considering they proposed £600,000 of Stirling taxpayers’ money being allocated to mitigating against it. It is high time for Stirling’s Tory MP to do the right thing and back calls for Universal Credit to be halted now before more people are forced into cruel and unnecessary hardship.”