Rolling out Universal Credit as it stands is at worst “callous” and a best “arrogant and idiotic”, an SNP MP has warned.
Mhairi Black said one in four new claimants had to wait more than six weeks to be paid - a figure she labelled as “staggeringly alarming” - as she urged the Government to halt the welfare reforms.
She said the offer of an advanced payment to help was nothing more than a loan that had to be repaid, claiming it was creating a burden on claimants and forcing them to deal with a problem that is “not their fault in the first place”.
The Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP accused the Government of acting like a “pious loan shark - except that instead of coming through your front door they are coming after your mental health, your physical well-being, your stability, your sense of security - that is what the experience is for all of our constituents”.
Ms Black, who was speaking during a fiery opposition day debate on Universal Credit, said: “Plunging people into debt does not incentivise work, forcing people into hunger does not incentivise work, causing anxiety and distress and even evicting some families from their homes does not incentivise work.
“Now the good news is that every single person sitting in this chamber just now has the power to change this tonight.
“So listen to us - like I said, we’re not making this up, because I tell you something: this Government has absolutely no excuse for pushing ahead with this reform after today.
“Halt it, and halt it now.”