Leader of Stirling Council, SNP Councillor Scott Farmer, has written to the Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke, calling for the rollout of Universal Credit to be halted.
Universal Credit was introduced in Stirling in June last year and a report from the Council has shown that council house and housing association rent arrears have increased significantly, there has been a sharp increase in the number of crisis grants awarded to struggling families and individuals, and food bank referrals have increased.
By Stirling Constituency MSP, Bruce Crawford
Last week, the Tory Chancellor detailed a Budget with an economic forecast for the UK that, to say the least was gloomy in its outlook. UK growth is set to slow down considerably – meaning that, in terms of growth, the UK is lagging behind much of Europe and the rest of the economically developed world.
One major issue that emerged from the Budget that must be must be addressed, head on, is the phantom £2 billion of additional funding to be given to Scotland. After 10 years of cuts to Scotland’s budget totalling £2.9 billion, I would have welcomed any real increase in funding for our public services. That said, the Tory con of such a large amount of cash may have scored a couple of headlines, but the reality is quite stark and different on the ground.
For a start, by far the majority of money allocated by the Chancellor is specifically for financial transactions that must be paid back to the Treasury. This means that this money cannot be used for the day-to-day running of Scotland’s vital public services (e.g. Health, education, fire and rescue).
So far from being a funding increase, the money allocated from Westminster to Scotland is actually to be reduced by £213 billion, in real terms, and this will create additional real strain for Scotland’s public services. We should of course always remember this is our own money being returned to us with a cut.
Stirling SNP led a demonstration to halt Universal Credit on Saturday (25th Nov).
The day of action included a procession from King’s Park followed by a rally at Thistle Park in Stirling.
Rally speakers included Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford, SNP MP Drew Hendry, Stirling Council Leader Scott Farmer, and Jessica Lindohf of Stirling Women’s Aid.
Stirling SNP’s campaign has gained hundreds of signatures for the party’s petition to halt Universal Credit.
The past two weeks have seen heated debates in the House of Commons and beyond on the subject of Universal Credit, because as opposition parties at Westminster have rightly argued, there are serious flaws in the way this is being rolled out.
Here in the Stirling area, where Universal Credit was implemented over the summer, we have witnessed all too clearly the shortcomings of the policy in its current form, and ample evidence for why the rollout should be halted until the serious deficiencies can be addressed.
New evidence has revealed the true impact of the rollout of Universal Credit in Stirling.
It is anticipated that local authority statistics have shown that the rollout of Universal Credit in the Stirling area – which was part-introduced in May 2015, with the full service rolled out in June this year – has accounted for the following:
Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford has commented on the devastating impact that Universal Credit is having on individuals and families who have applied to it.
The Tory UK Government was defeated in a Commons vote by 299 – 0 on halting the rollout of Universal Credit.
The rollout of Universal Credit to the Stirling area took place last month.