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LOCAL COUNCILS SPEND MILLIONS MITIGATING UNIVERSAL CREDIT

SNP MSP CALLS ON IMMEDIATE HALT TO FAILED TORY POLICY

George outside the old St Mirren ground on Love St

SNP MSP George Adam has renewed calls for an immediate halt to Universal Credit after it was revealed that councils are spending millions of pounds attempting to undo the damage of this failed Tory policy.

 

A series of Freedom of Information requests discovered that local authorities in Scotland have spent more than £24 million to mitigate the harmful effects of Universal Credit, which has faced huge backlash since its introduction.

 

Renfrewshire Council has set aside 1,596,000 for spending related to UC, with extra funds being reserved to manage the impact of Universal Credit on council housing tenants finding themselves plunged into rent arrears and poverty.

 

Universal Credit has been beset by problems since its rollout. This week, one of the UK’s biggest housing associations said that more than 100,000 children could face hardship over Christmas because families are being forced to wait for more than five weeks for their first benefit payment, and the Trussell Trust has warned that they are preparing for their busiest month ever – after a 15% rise in foodbank use in Scotland in the past year.

 

SNP MSP George Adam said:

 

“Universal Credit is a broken system – it’s leaving people destitute, driving kids into poverty and forcing families to rely on foodbanks in Paisley.

 

“And these latest eye-watering figures show that Renfrewshire Council has been left picking up the pieces, being forced to shell out 1,596,000.

 

“Money is being diverted away from key public services to cover the costs and mitigate the damage caused by this appalling change being imposed by the UK Government on Scotland. That is fundamentally unfair.

 

“But there’s an easy solution – halt the rollout of Universal Credit and fix this broken policy. Or better still, put all welfare powers in the hands of the Scottish Parliament – so we can build a social security system which puts dignity, fairness and respect at its heart.”

 

Renfrewshire Loses Over £2 Million Because Of Tory Welfare Cuts

Paisleys MSP, George Adam Demands Devolution Of Social Security Powers

 

Freedom of Information figures supplied by the Department for Work and Pensions have shown that Renfrewshire has lost out on over £2 Million because of Tory cuts to disability benefit.

 

The information – requested by investigative news outlet The Ferret – shows the number of people who have lost out on social security benefits following the change from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments.

 

The Tory welfare cuts – taking a total of £56 million away from communities across Scotland – have hit the poorest people hardest, leaving vulnerable and disabled people across Renfrewshire without enough money to live off.

 

            George Adam MSP

Commenting, George said:

 

“It is absolutely devastating that Tory welfare cuts have taken over £2 million out of our communities.

 

“This really hits home at how disastrous these cuts have been for people across Renfrewshire – robbing our society and vulnerable people of the money they were entitled to until the Tories decided that they no longer were.

 

“It is shameful that those most in need of support in Scotland have lost over £56 million under this cruel Tory regime.

 

“While the Scottish Government is busy setting up a new social security agency with dignity and respect at its heart, figures such as these continue to emerge showing just how damaging Tory welfare cuts are for Renfrewshire.

 

“Only with full powers over social security can Scotland treat all those in need of support with the respect they deserve, not the cruelty they face under a toxic Tory government.”

 

George outside Paisley Museum

Tory Welfare Cuts Behind Rise In Food Bank Use

Paisleys MSP, George Adam, has criticised the UK government for “driving families to food banks” after new figures reveal the number of food parcels has increased over the past year.

 

The Trussell Trust’s annual foodbank statistics show that the number of food parcels distributed in Scotland surged by 17% in 2017-18 to record levels – with Tory welfare policy remaining the main driver.

 

Benefit delays and sanctions are the primary reason for referrals, with the roll-out of universal credit a factor in the rise.

 

The SNP have called on the UK government to reverse the benefits freeze and introduce a real living wage to help ensure families have enough money to live on.

 

Commenting, George said:George outside Paisley Museum

 

“It’s a disgrace that families in Paisley and across Scotland are having to rely on emergency food parcels just to get by.

 

“Millions of families across the UK are suffering from a Tory pay cut – as rising prices, stagnant wages, and cuts to social security continue to squeeze living standards and push households into poverty, debt and crisis.

 

“These figures from the Trussell Trust show that the problem is getting worse – with food bank usage rising year on year. Tory policies are making it harder for families to cover even the basic costs of food, housing, and bills.

 

“Families cannot afford another year of Tory cuts. It is vital that the UK government finally takes meaningful action to boost incomes. This must include delivering a real living wage and reverse the benefits freeze to help ensure families have enough money to live on.”

Paisley’s MSP Welcomes Charities Social Advice Service

George Adam MSP is urging deaf in Paisley who have queries about benefits decisions to use a charity’s welfare rights advocacy service.

 

The service, which is run by the charity Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, can provide people who are Deaf or have hearing loss – including British Sign Language (BSL) users – with information, advice and, where possible, formal representation to challenge benefits decisions.

 

George Adam MSP said: “I’m pleased to support Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s welfare rights advocacy service which provides valuable advice and reassurance for deaf or hard of hearing people who are concerned or confused about their social security benefits.

 

“I encourage people in Paisley who are Deaf or have hearing loss to contact the service if you would like to be better informed about the support you may be entitled to.”

George alongside Eileen, Director of Action on Hearing Loss

Eileen Clarkson, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland and George Adam, Paisley’s MSP.

 

Delia Henry, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to have George Adam MSP’s backing for our welfare rights advocacy service which is making a real difference to the everyday lives of deaf people trying to access Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in particular.

 

“If you are Deaf or have hearing loss and need some help to understand letters you have received regarding your benefits, our Welfare Rights Officer would be delighted to help you make sense of it all.”

 

For information about Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s social security advice service, call telephone: 0141 341 5346, textphone: 0141 341 5350, email: SocialSecurity@hearingloss.org.uk or visit www.hearingloss.org.uk/SocialSecurity.  British Sign Language users can contact via the ContactSCOTLAND-BSL service

Labour Plans Pension Reductions in Scotland

George Adam MSPPlans by Labour to reduce pensions in Scotland have been attacked by George Adam, Paisley’s MSP. Ed Balls the Shadow Chancellor at Westminster has announced that there will be no change to the Tory policies recently introduced if Labour take control at Westminster, meaning the elderly and the disabled will continue to be targeted.

 

Speaking on Labour’s proposals, George said:

 

‘I think we are all getting the message loud and clear now. There is no difference at all between Labour and the Tories. We have it straight from the economic guru of the Labour party – the Bedroom Tax will stay – targeting of the disabled will stay – pensions will be targeted in Scotland, there will be lower benefits too for people in Scotland, wealthier areas in England will receive higher benefits and pensions.

 

‘Not even the Tories have thought that they would get away with this one.

 

‘Joined at the hip in targeting Scots – joined at the hip in their Better Together campaign, taking our resources and giving us even less than we get at the moment.

 

‘I know people in Paisley will not be happy with this. We have a chance to stand up for ourselves, we must take that opportunity next year and ensure that we are protected. Independence is the only way that we can protect our values and our people.’