Scots are ‘driven to starvation’ due to Universal Credit claims says SNP minister

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Vulnerable people across the country are being driven to starvation as a result of Universal Credit according to an SNP minister.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville called for the UK Government to halt proceedings and address some of the major problems following the rollout of Universal Credit.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, is serving as Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People having been the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science in the Scottish Government from May 2016 to June 2018.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, is serving as Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People having been the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science in the Scottish Government from May 2016 to June 2018.

Speaking at Glasgow City Council’s Universal Credit hub in Ibrox, she told the Daily Record: “As a constituency MSP and on ministerial visits, I have heard of cases that are simply heartbreaking.

“I have had case studies put to me of people who only eat on a Tuesday and a Thursday because they have no money coming into the house.

“When I visited the Citizens Advice Bureau, I saw that they put ‘starvation’ in the case study notes for someone.

“In this day and age in Scotland, we are talking about that because of a choice that’s being made by this Westminster Government on how to run a benefits system.”

She also stated that many councils were trying their best to combat the problem and praise Glasgow City Council for their hub saying: “The council and Scottish Government can’t stop these roll-outs from happening. But what they are able to provide is individualised support for people to access a system that is inherently designed to make it as complicated as possible and to create as many barriers as possible.

“Services like these can break down these barriers.

“It’s great the council are doing that for them but it’s a shame it’s required in the first place.”

New claimants at the Govan jobcentre were the first in Glasgow to switch to Universal Credit on September 19 – with more than 12,000 others in the city set to follow between now and early December.

Following the roll-outs in other parts of the UK, many have suffered with food bank use and rent arrears rising.

Labour is to attempt to force the Government to publish its analysis of the impact of Universal Credit on people’s incomes.

The party will use an opposition day debate in the Commons on Wednesday to try to secure the release of the assessment drawn up by officials.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood said they would use the same procedural device they adopted last year to obtain the release of the Government’s Brexit impact assessment papers.

Yesterday, the Church of England joined calls for reform of Universal Credit, saying fallout from the new benefit system is being seen at its food banks across the country.